Royal Berkshire Hospital

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Royal Berkshire Hospital
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Royal Berkshire Hospital 1.jpg
The hospital in 2007
Royal Berkshire Hospital is located in Reading, Berkshire
Royal Berkshire Hospital
Location within Reading
LocationReading, Berkshire, England
Care systemNational Health Service
Emergency departmentYes
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The Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) is a large NHS hospital in the town of Reading in the English county of Berkshire. It provides acute hospital services to the residents of the western and central portions of Berkshire, and is managed by the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The hospital provides approximately 813 inpatient beds (627 acute, 66 paediatrics and 120 maternity), together with 204-day beds and spaces. In doing so, it employs over 5,000 staff and has an annual budget of £228 million.[1]


The original frontage of the Royal Berkshire Hospital

The Royal Berkshire Hospital was opened in 1839 on the London Road on land donated by Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth, a local resident and former Prime Minister. The hospital was built by local architect and builder Henry Briant, who won the design competition. King William IV took a keen interest in the hospital before it was built and as a consequence, his arms appear on the central pediment, although he died before the hospital opened. The first patron of the hospital was William's niece and successor, Queen Victoria.[2][3]

In the 1860s, the original building was extended with east and west wings designed by Joseph Morris. In the 1880s, a new chapel was added to the rear of the main block, together with long side wings. Both chapel and side wings were also designed by Morris.[2][3]

In 1993, the Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust was formed, to manage both the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Battle Hospital, the town's other general hospital. On 24 February 2006, The Queen accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh opened the new buildings of the Royal Berkshire Hospital. This was to celebrate the completion of an eight-year project to move the Battle Hospital services onto the Royal Berkshire Hospital site. In August of the same year, the trust became an NHS Foundation Trust under the name of Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, reflecting both its new status and the closure of Battle Hospital.[3][4]

In 2008, the hospital was awarded 'Excellent' for its use of resources and 'Good' for the quality of its services in the Healthcare Commission's annual health check of all the hospitals within the National Health Service. The accident and emergency department is consistently one of the most efficient in the country, with more than 99% of patients being seen and treated, admitted or discharged within four hours.[5][6]

In August 2010, it was reported that the number of jobs in the hospital would be reduced by 600, out of a total of around 4,000, to achieve a saving of £60 million. In October 2013, as part of a screening process by the Care Quality Commission, based on existing data and intended for use in prioritising inspections, the Trust was put into the highest risk category.[7][8][9]

On 5 March 2020, a patient at the Royal Berkshire Hospital was the first confirmed fatality in the UK from the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

In August 2020, Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital piloted an Emergency Department for elderly and frail people.[11]

In November 2021, the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading began consulting the local community about major redevelopment of the current hospital or alternatively a completely new development in a different location, to ensure that future planning and developments would cover everyone's needs.[12]


The endoscopy (white) and maternity blocks (yellow)

The hospital occupies a long thin site, running gently uphill from London Road to Addington Road, and flanked by Craven Road and Redlands Road. The buildings that house the hospital are of various ages, from the original building of 1839 to the latest ward block completed in 2015. Despite the various ages and styles of building, almost all of the hospital's departments are accessible from a single indoor pedestrian route that runs the length of the site. The original entrance on London Road still exists, but the main entrance is now situated in Craven Road, roughly at the midpoint of this route.[13]

The original building of 1839, together with the wings added in the 1860s, are now listed grade II* by English Heritage. They are built of Bath Stone with slate roofs, and the main building comprises 2 storeys and a basement. The frontage has 11 bays, with the central 7 bays forming a projecting pedimented hexastyle portico with Ionic columns.[2]

Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre[edit]

Amongst the buildings within the hospital complex is the old laundry, built in 1881. This now houses the museum of the Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre, which contains 3,000 artefacts relating to medicine, surgery, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy and dentistry. Some of the exhibits date back to the 17th century.[14]

Notable patients[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Trust – Royal Berkshire Hospital". Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Historic England. "Main Block and Flanking Wings at Royal Berkshire Hospital (1156091)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 November 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d "History — Royal Berkshire Hospital". Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  4. ^ "Queen inspects £132m NHS makeover". BBC News. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  5. ^ "Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust wins praise in national health check". Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  6. ^ "Total Time in A&E data files". Department of Health. Archived from the original on 23 December 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  7. ^ "Royal Berkshire Hospital to axe up to 600 jobs". BBC. 5 August 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
  8. ^ "NHS Trusts put in risk categories - full list". Independent Revealed: scale of hospital staff shortages in top Tory areas. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  9. ^ "NHS Trusts put in risk categories - full list". Independent. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Coronavirus: Woman in 70s becomes first virus fatality in UK". BBC. 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  11. ^ "NEW emergency department for elderly being trialled at Royal Berks". Reading Chronicle. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  12. ^ "What does the future hold for the Royal Berkshire Hospital?". ITV News. 10 November 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  13. ^ "How to find us". Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  14. ^ "The Royal Berkshire Medical Museum". Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Archived from the original on 27 November 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
  15. ^ Brookes, Andrew. Crash! Military Aircraft Disasters, Accidents and Incidents. London: Ian Allan Ltd., 1991, p. 36. ISBN 0-7110-1965-7.
  16. ^ "Catherine Duchess of Cambridge". English Monarchs. Archived from the original on 4 February 2012.
  17. ^ "Will the royal baby be born in the Royal Berks?". Get Reading. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2023.
  18. ^ Nicholl, Katie (12 August 2012). "The Other Middleton". GQ. UK. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  19. ^ "George Cole: Star of Minder dies at 90". BBC News. Retrieved 6 August 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Railton, Margaret; Barr, Marshall (1989). The Royal Berkshire Hospital 1839-1989. The Royal Berkshire Hospital. ISBN 978-0951437308.

External links[edit]