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Safeguarding Adults

Safeguarding adults is everybody’s business.

What is a 'vulnerable' adult?

Vulnerable adults are people who are vulnerable because of their mental health, physical or learning disability, age or illness. They may find it difficult to protect themselves from abuse. Everybody can help vulnerable adults to live free from harm.

What is abuse?

Abuse is when someone hurts you or treats you badly. Abuse is always wrong. Abuse can be:

Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Financial or Neglect.

If you think you are being abused or neglected, you should tell:

  • someone in your family
  • a nurse, doctor or social worker
  • a member of staff (if you live in a residence with staff caring for or watching over you)
  • a friend or neighbour
  • an advocate or support group (Webcas, Samaritans, Crossing Bridges, Berkshire Women’s Aid)
  • or you can telephone one of numbers below:

If you suspect that a vulnerable adult you know is being abused, call:

  • If you live in Reading: 0118 9373747
  • If you live in West Berkshire: 01635 503050
  • If you live in Bracknell: 01344 351500
  • If you live in South Oxfordshire: 0845 0507666
  • If you live in Wokingham: 0118 974 6800
  • If you live in Slough: 01753 690400
  • If you live in Windsor / Maidenhead: 01628 683744

The West of Berkshire Safeguarding Adults Board covers the three local authority areas of Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham. It is a statutory mechanism for ensuring that there is a robust multi-agency safeguarding framework in place and for monitoring the effect this has on protecting adults.

The main objective of the Board, as set out by the Care Act 2014, is to gain assurance that local safeguarding arrangements help and protect adults with care and support needs who are at risk of or experiencing abuse. The Board aims to make sure that all of the organisations involved have effective safeguarding policies and procedures and work together in the best way possible to protect adults at risk. The Trust is an active member of the board and its sub group.

If you think the situation is urgent because someone is at immediate risk of harm, take yourself out of danger, and dial 999 for the police.

Safeguarding Children

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is committed to providing the highest quality of care for children and young people.

Safeguarding is essential to providing health care; this includes protecting their health, human rights and ensuring they are free from harm, abuse or neglect.

‘The action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm is 'everyone’s responsibility’

Safeguarding is protecting children and young people from maltreatment. This may include one or more forms of abuse.

Forms of abuse: Physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Emotional abuse, Neglect

If you think that a child (under 18 years) is at risk of being harmed or neglected you should tell:

  • A member of hospital staff
  • A nurse or doctor
  • A social worker

To contact a social worker, please contact the local council in the area in which the child lives. The local council have a legal duty to protect children from maltreatment. Referrals from a member of the public can be made anonymously.

If you suspect that a vulnerable children you know is being abused call:

Emergency Duty Team
(5.00pm - 9.00am Mon-Fri, 24 hrs on weekends and bank holidays)
Tel: 01344 786543

Between 9.00am - 5.00pm:

  • If you live in Reading: 0118 937 3641
  • If you live in West Berkshire: 01635 503090
  • If you live in Bracknell: 01344 786543
  • If you live in Wokingham: 0118 908 8002
  • If you live in Slough: 01753 690898 or 01753 875591
  • If you live in Windsor / Maidenhead: 01628 683150

If you think the situation is urgent because someone is at immediate risk of harm, take yourself out of danger, and dial 999 for the police.

Consent and Mental Capacity

What is consent?

Before a health professional – e.g. doctor, nurse or therapist – examines or treats you, they need your consent or permission.

You can give your permission in different ways – by doing something to show you agree with treatment, e.g. offering your arm for an injection; by verbally agreeing to something, or by signing a form.

Mental Capacity Act

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the rights of people who are unable to make their own decisions, especially when they need to be deprived of their liberty in their own best interests, need to be protected.

In some circumstances it may be necessary to deprive someone of their liberty in order to give them care or treatment that is in their best interests and protects them from harm.

The Mental Capacity Act 2006 Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards exist to protect people who cannot make decisions about their care and treatment when they need to be cared for in a particularly restrictive way. By following the guideline, hospital staff can ensure that people are deprived of their liberty only when necessary and within the law. Deprivation of liberty depends on the specific circumstances of each individual case.

Privacy and Dignity

The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is committed to ensuring that all patients are treated with respect and that their dignity and privacy are maintained at all times.

Single Sex Accommodation

We believe that providing single sex accommodation is an effective way of helping to achieve this goal.

Single sex accommodation may be provided in either single sex wards, or single sex bays or rooms within mixed wards. In exceptional circumstances in which a patient needs urgent or specialist care in areas such as Accident and Emergency, the Intensive Care Unit, the Coronary Care Unit or recovery, mixing men and women may be unavoidable.

We will work to resolve such situations as quickly as possible and will keep patients and their families informed about our actions. If you have any concerns about privacy and dignity, please speak to the ward sister/charge nurse in the first instance or the matron for the area.

Alternatively, you can contact the Patient Relations Team on 0118 322 8338. You can also e-mail in any concerns or comments.

Children and young people

It is recognised that for many children and young people, clinical need and age and stage of development may take precedence over gender considerations and the mixing of the sexes is reasonable, or may even be preferred.

There is evidence that many young people find great comfort from sharing with others of their own age and often this outweighs their concerns about mixed sex rooms. If a young person or their carer would prefer us to consider single sex accommodation then please discuss this with the nurse in charge who will endeavour to accommodate the request.


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