Public Sector: Berks NHS Trust in comms review

The Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust in Reading has called in external consultants to review its communications as it prepares to bid for Foundation Trust status.

DTW is spending the next two months hosting focus groups and interviewing staff, opinion formers - such as local MPs John Redwood and Martin Salter - and local journalists to assess how the organisation is perceived, and how the trust can improve its image.

DTW, which won a five-way pitch for the contract, will also review the trust's publications.

Foundation status gives hospitals more autonomy over their finances and the way they develop services.

Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals' bid will go to the Department of Health in December after a consultation programme with staff, stakeholders and local people in the autumn that will take into account DTW's recommendations.

The hospital gained a three-star rating last year, qualifying it as having potential Foundation status.

So far, 25 trusts have gained foundation status and another 32 are in the process of applying.

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