New Central Baby Clinic Opens in Reading


A range of services is being offered to families with young children at a new health clinic in central Reading.

The new Child Health Clinic will offer integrated services for families with children under five-years-old from the Salvation Army building at the Castle Hill Roundabout. Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust will hold weekly Well Baby Clinics at the centre, including advice sessions with the health visiting team, a self-weigh drop-in service, plus regular health checks by appointment. More services are also planned to follow. The Health Visiting Service offers a universal programme to all families from the ante-natal period through to when the child reaches school age. This includes five health assessments/contacts at set times throughout the first 30 months of a child’s life. This is part of the national Healthy Child Programme to support parents and carers in promoting good health and development for their child. In addition, they will offer drop-in Well Baby Clinics to families with children under-five, where they can receive support and advice on child health, growth and development. The new central clinic at the Salvation Army building in Anstey Road has been created as part of a wider review of the Health Visiting service across Reading. Further changes include: •

Southcote Community Hub:

Drop-in Well Baby Clinics, which are currently run at Southcote, will relocate to the Salvation Army child health clinic from 29th July. However, the clinic based child development reviews will continue to be run in Southcote, by appointment. •

Sun Street Youth and Community Centre:

Drop-in Well Baby Clinics will move to the Salvation Army building from 29th July. Mandated health reviews will continue in Sun Street until the centre is closed for refurbishment in November 2019. They will then be moved to the Salvation Army clinic. •

Ranikhet Children’s Centre and Whitley Health Centre:

Drop-in Well Baby Clinics will continue to be run weekly but their regularity will be kept under review. The child development reviews will continue to be offered at both centres. •

Caversham Children’s Centre:

All services will continue to run unchanged. •

Battle Library:

Children’s health clinics previously held at Battle Library, in Oxford Road, have been running successfully at the Salvation Army since the library closed for major works to convert it into a community hub for west Reading. The Health Visiting service also offers a Duty Health Visitor telephone/email advice line during working hours Monday – Friday for a timely response to queries. Berkshire Healthcare also runs an online resource which offers advice and support to parents at The review of the Health Visiting Service was carried out to ensure the limited resources available were being deployed effectively in the areas where there is most demand. A survey of parents who use the service was also undertaken. The review of services has taken into account the key areas of deprivation within the borough and has ensured households in these areas have easy access to Well Baby Clinics either by foot or via public transport, and parking is also available at the Salvation Army.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Lead Councillor for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, said:

“The new Salvation Army child health centre will offer Well Baby Clinics alongside a host of other advice and support services for families in a convenient central Reading location. “The review of the Health Visiting Service has focused on making the best use of limited resources and ensuring that those who need the service most have easy access to clinics either by foot or by public transport. “The mandated five baby health checks will continue to be held in all our centres and the popular Duty Health Visitor phone line and email will also be available to families as well as support and advice on the Berkshire Healthcare website.” Duty phone line: (0118) 931 2111 (Option 1) and email:

Amanda Lowe, Locality Manager for Reading Health Visiting Service said:

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming families with children under five years of age to this centrally located venue. “This new initiative has been designed in response to feedback from Reading families, who said that they wanted a centrally-located hub for our services. “Alongside our other Health Visiting clinics and services offered weekly across Reading, we hope that the Salvation Army centre will provide a popular and convenient addition for Reading families”.

Notes to editors

1. Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health and community health services to a population of around 900,000 within Berkshire. We operate from more than 100 sites across the county but the vast majority of the people we care for are supported in their own homes. We have 216 mental health inpatient beds and 180 community hospital beds in five locations. 2. Follow Berkshire Healthcare on Twitter @BHFT and Facebook Contact: Erika Yarrow-Soden, Senior Communications Officer,, 01344 415736, 07795 332105 David Millward, Communications, Reading Borough Council,, 0118 937 4289.