University of Reading: Two more hospital departments receive University status

A further two departments at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) have been awarded University status, taking the total to six.

Critical Care Medicine (CCM) and the Berkshire Kidney Unit (BKU) are the latest departments to have successfully gained University status in recognition of excellence in three key areas: clinical outcomes, collaborative research and development, and staff professional development and education.

Since 2018, the University of Reading and the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have worked closely together, forming a strategic partnership (previously known as the Joint Academic Board), dedicated to joint research and education, funding innovation and to recognise clinical and academic excellence in both organisations. In 2021, the Health Innovation Partnership (HIP) was formed to expand on the existing collaboration between the two organisations.

The HIP’s Recognition of Excellence scheme confers the title of ‘University department of’ on successful departments at RBFT which demonstrate excellence across the three key areas.

Professor Orla Kennedy, Strategic Partnership Director (Health) at the University of Reading, said: “The Health Innovation Partnership between the University of Reading and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust allows us to continue the great work that was started by the Joint Academic Board, and will give us scope to expand our future collaboration.

“We are working together to support better patient outcomes, leading innovations in skills and talent development to support our current and future health workforce, and ensuring that our research is impactful.”

Dr Janet Lippett, Chief Medical Officer at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and HIP co-chair, said: “We were impressed with the high quality and content of both departments’ portfolio, site visits and presentations.

“Members of the HIP Board that visited the departments enjoyed meeting and were impressed by the diversity of roles present and the clear commitment to inter-professional team working across both departments, and it was fantastic to see the BKU demonstrate that over multiple RBFT sites too. Both departments demonstrated the wide breadth of educational opportunities and good engagement and investment in research both now and for the future.”

The CCM and BKU departments received their plaques at a ceremony on 18 May 2022. As part of the award, departments receive a monetary sum alongside funding towards a joint PhD studentship.

Both departments join Cardiology (2019), Emergency Medicine (2019), Radiology (2020) and Stroke (2021) in receiving University department status.