Breaking news: East Sussex Healthcare Trust boss ‘sorry for shortfalls’

Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132833001
Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132833001

The acting chief executive at East Sussex Healthcare Trust has apologised to patients for failing to meet residents’ ‘expectations’.

Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended the trust, which runs Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings, goes into special measures.

We are sorry that we have let down people who use our services, our staff and colleagues and acknowledge we have not delivered the standards the people in East Sussex rightly expect from us.

Richard Sunley

A damning report by the Care Quality Commission, which rated the trust as “inadequate” was published today (September 22) following an the inspection in March.

Richard Sunley, Acting Chief Executive at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are very disappointed about the shortfalls the CQC has identified.

“We are sorry that we have let down people who use our services, our staff and colleagues and acknowledge we have not delivered the standards the people in East Sussex rightly expect from us.

“However, we welcome the additional support from the wider NHS that the CQC has recommended and are determined to make a new start.

“We are working hard to meet our ambitions to improve at pace and deliver excellence for the people we serve.”

He said the trust acknowledges that although they have put improvements in place since the inspection in March, there is “still more to do”.

Mr Sunley said the trust is committed to working hard to make the necessary improvements.

Since the inspection the trust said it has already improved staffing levels, created private space for patients, invested in an electronic tagging system for patients’ notes, reduced waiting times, cancelled fewer clinics, strengthened its partnership with Healthwatch and introduced regular listening events for staff with a new campaign.

Mr Sunley added: “I am pleased the CQC recognise our staff for delivering good, compassionate care and this is a strong position we will build from.

“There have been immense changes in East Sussex over recent years and it is now time to work with patients, staff, partners and the local community to rebuild relationships both internally and externally.

“Changing the culture of a large complex organisation will take time but with a committed caring workforce I am determined that we can work together as an organisation to make the improvements we want to see for patients and staff.”

A spokesman for NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG, said:

“Our priority is to commission safe and high quality NHS services for the people we represent. We are therefore disappointed that the issues highlighted previously by the CQC have not been addressed at the pace and scale we would expect. We welcome the trust’s sincere apology for this, and its acknowledgement that it has not delivered the standard of services local people deserve.

“As local GPs, we are committed to working in partnership with the trust to deliver the recommendations of the CQC to improve services and rebuild local people’s trust and confidence. We are part of one NHS and social care system in East Sussex, and the responsibility for securing improvements lies across the board – with every doctor, nurse, healthcare professional, manager, porter and cleaner.

“We are pleased to note the trust continues to deliver caring services across the board, and this aspect is rated as ‘good’ by the CQC

“Our East Sussex Better Together programme to transform and integrate health and social care in the county requires strong local hospital providers as part of a system that delivers safe and high quality services. We want to assure the public that we are doing everything in our powers to achieve this.”

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