Two MPs have expressed their disappointment after East Sussex Healthcare Trust was placed in special measures.
The trust, which runs Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne DGH, was rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on September 22, following an inspection in March.
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, and Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, told the Observer they were ‘concerned’ by the announcement.
In a joint statement, the MPs said: “It is with great disappointment that we learn that the NHS Trust Development Agency (TDA) have placed East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust into the category of ‘special measures’ following a recommendation from the Care Quality Commission.
“Whilst concerned by this announcement, we welcome the acknowledgement by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust that patients and staff have been let down and regard this acknowledgement as a step in the direction to embrace the need for rapid change.
“As local MPs, it is of key importance to us that the hospital staff feel truly valued and their morale is lifted.
“To this extent, we are pleased that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) recognised that the staff were very committed, caring and did their utmost to achieve the best outcomes for patients.”
Ms Rudd and Mr Merriman hope staff will ‘feel empowered’ after the report.
They added: “Whilst the category of special measures is a cause for concern, the status will permit the trust to access additional resources and expertise which, if properly harnessed, will help to bring about improvements.
“We have supported the trust through these difficult times and now want to do everything we can to stand alongside staff and patients and support the highlighted changes and improvements which the trust management will need to deliver to bring it out of special measures.
“We believe that change occurs for the better when management, staff, patients and community representatives all work together for the common good. As MPs, we are committed to this mantra and would encourage our constituents to do likewise.”
Both MPs said they will be visiting the hospitals over the next few weeks to discuss the next stages with staff and patients.
Consumer champions Healthwatch East Sussex, have been working with the trust on its improvement plan since March.
Julie Fitzgerald, director, said: “Our recent week long Red Bus Tour, 30 plus ESHT user experience reviews on our feedback centre, and expressions of interest from more than 80 local people to join our ESHT volunteer task group, means we have some excellent data, and a mix of skills to help deliver engagement activities in and with the trust over the next six months, or until improvements are visible.”
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