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27.03.15

East Sussex Healthcare ‘inadequate’ but avoids special measures

Services at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have been rated ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

An initial inspection took place in September last year before the CQC returned on 24 March 2015 to assess the progress the trust had made addressing concerns raised. 

Early indications from this week’s inspection, which focused on those services that were judged in September to cause the greatest concern – maternity, surgery and outpatients – are that improvements have been made, although inspectors still have concerns about the leadership and culture of the trust. 

In most cases, a rating of inadequate would lead to the CQC recommending that the trust be put in special measures. However, as a result of the latest visit, any decision on special measures will be deferred until the chief inspector of hospitals has considered the findings in full. 

The trust was assessed on safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness and leadership. 

But it was rated inadequate for safety and whether it was well-led and found to require improvement on its responsiveness and effectiveness. It was found to be good when it came to caring for patients. 

Both Conquest hospital and Eastbourne District General Hospital were rated as inadequate overall, but critical care at both sites was good. 

CQC has stated that the trust must improve the relationship with its staff, specifically the culture of the organisation, so that people feel able to speak up. And there must be a review of the culture within the organisation especially the perceived allegations of bullying. 

Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, said: “When we inspected East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust in September, we were extremely concerned at the disconnect we identified between the senior team and the staff working on the frontline. We saw no sign of a clear vision and strategy and a lack of response to concerns raised by staff. We had specific serious concerns about maternity, surgery and outpatients. 

“Our recent inspection indicates there have been improvements in important areas for patients, but I am still concerned about cultural and leadership issues at the trust. I will not be making a judgment about special measures until we have fully assessed the results of our most recent inspection. 

“We, alongside our partners will continue to keep a close eye on the trust and will inspect again in due course to assess whether or not adequate progress is being made.” 

Responding to the reports, CEO of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Darren Grayson said that his team was incredibly disappointed to receive the inadequate rating. 

“Although we welcome the feedback from their inspection this week that improvements have already been made since they inspected last September,” he added. “The reports reflect the journey we are on as an organisation and the immense changes we have made over recent years. Despite change being tough for us all, this has already resulted in significant improvements to the way we care for patients, and ultimately more successful treatment of their illnesses and conditions.” 

The trust added that the next step is to further develop and implement an action plan in response to the CQC inspection with the full engagement of staff across the organisation.  Progress against the plan will be demonstrated to staff, patients and partners over the next few months. 

(Image: c. South Thames Foundation School)

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@nationalhealthexecutive.com

Comments

Dave   27/03/2015 at 19:40

I've read the report. Medicines Management getting so much of a mention - things must be bad and heads should roll. It is such a disgrace!

Jane   27/03/2015 at 19:44

I agree - that must be the Chief Pharmacist's Reliant Robin parked outside - is he Del boy!

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