STRUCTURE: The Royal Berkshire Hospitals Foundation Trust is working with commissioners to establish 50 new community beds, in a bid to deal with rising demand for services.

October board papers released to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act said the trust’s performance on accident and emergency services “remained a risk pending the commissioning of an additional 50 community beds”.

The papers said chief executive Ed Donald planned to meet his counterpart at NHS Berkshire West, and the leaders of the local councils “to progress this”. “In the meantime, two-weekly capacity meetings were being held with commissioners.”

Papers from a separate October board meeting at the trust said: “It should be noted that the [four hour] accident and emergency target will remain a significant risk through the remainder of 2012-13 as it is dependent on the Urgent Care Network’s agreement to fund and open an additional 50 community beds rapidly.”

Demand for services was rising, with emergency attendances up 10 per cent over the past year. Emergency admissions were 6 per cent higher in the first half of 2012-13.

The papers said this position was “reflected across the South of England”.

“The trust is doing everything it can to maintain safe, high quality care across all services and maintain financial balance.

“The focus is to deliver a west Berkshire plan that provides extra community capacity seven days a week, across health and social care services.

“This joint work is critical to reduce the number of patients medically fit for transfer who do not need to be in a hospital bed.

“The trust is fully escalated in terms of bed capacity currently. It should be noted that an increase in flu is predicted compared to previous years.”