NHS - how the parts work together

National Health Service - the component parts and how they fit together for South Reading



Most residents are registered with a General Practitioner, also known as a family doctor or GP and separately with a dentist. The GP practice provides primary care and arranges referrals to secondary care in hospital, clinic or in the community. You see the GP by contacting one of the practice surgeries and making an appointment to see a GP. In those cases where getting to the surgery is impossible a home visit may be arranged. The GP surgery often hosts nurse and other specialist services and arranges home visits from the community nursing services. Our of normal surgery hours GP or other treatment is arranged by telephoning 111, or, in the case of a life-threateneing emergency, 999.

Community care is provided before and after child-birth, for those suffering from debilitating long-term conditions such as heart problems or breathing problems, or at end of life.

In urgent cases, the surgery may be able to arrange for someone to be seen promptly, or to receive telephone advice from a GP. The Walk-In Primary Care Centre in Broad Street Mall in central Reading is open from 8am to 8pm EVERY day. For life-threatening conditions, the accident and emergency service can be found at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Craven Road; where an ambulance is required telephone 999, the emergency telephone number, and ask for the ambulance service.

The non-emergency number 111 is available at all times for medical advice and advice on how and where to seek treatment for any urgent medical problem.

The National Health Service is free at the point of use to all those eligible and has been so since 1948, however there may be charges for medicines, for dental care, and for opticians tests and spectacles. Financial help with costs of transport to health treatments may be available in cases of need.

Courses of treatment are laid down in many cases by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Rights of patients to receive the treatments recommended and the rights of NHS staff are laid out in the NHS constiution (formerly NHS constitution.)

You and your GP may consider that you need a treatment which is not generally recommended. In this case you submit an Individual Funding Request . Policy recommendations are made by the South Central Priorities Committee. Details of the policies on these treatments and the forms to be filled in to request treatment (Independent Funding Requests) are found here.

Most secondary and community treatment in the NHS is provided by NHS providers who have the form of Foundation Trusts, such as the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust which provides acute hospital and maternity services and some specialist community services, the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust which provides community and inpatient mental health services and community nursing and other therapeutic services, and the South Central NHS Ambulance Foundation Trust. Where appropriate there are options for private organisations to provide treatments. In many cases the patient has some choice of provider, which can be explained by the referring GP.

From April 2013, secondary and community care in South Reading will be planned and purchased by the South Reading Clinical Commissioning Group (South Reading CCG), and from April 2015 it will also have joint responsibility for primary care (GP services) with NHS England.

Social care for those with high needs is provided by Reading Borough Council, which is increasingly working together with the South Reading and other CCGs to ensure safe and comfortable transitions between different care providers and more person-centred care. At present social care is not free and requires a contribution according to the recipient's means.

The National Health Service Structure

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An outline of how the 4 Berkshire West CCGs work together in a federation (Powerpoint - PPTX)135.86 KB