Inspectors have rated Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust good, however outpatient services were found to require improvement.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the trust in May looking at the services it provides at sites including East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, Horsham Hospital and Crawley Hospital.
Only a few years ago the trust was slammed by the CQC for its poor cleanliness and long accident and emergency waiting times.
This year it is one of five trusts which have achieve a good rating overall. Services including accident and emergency (A&E), surgery, critical care, maternity services, children’s care and end of life care were all rated good.
Inspectors saw that patient flow through A&E was good, and that people were consistently being seen within the national four hour target time.
Staff across the trust were very caring and compassionate and treated people with dignity and respect.
Outpatient services, however, were rated as requiring improvement. While people were treated with dignity and respect by staff, clinics often ran late and appointments were sometimes cancelled at short notice.
Clinics were overbooked, and while a large number of ad-hoc clinics made sure waiting time targets were met, these relied on the goodwill of staff.
CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “When we inspected East Surrey Hospital, and other services run by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, we found the vast majority to be very good indeed.
“Some work is needed in outpatient services to bring them up to the standard we saw in other areas – but I think we can be optimistic that this can and will be done given what we saw elsewhere in the trust.
“We saw a lot of excellent practice in this trust. The staff should be proud of what they have managed to achieve, and of the compassionate care we saw being provided across the hospitals and clinics.
“If the trust can sustain the improvements made already – especially over the last two years - and good practice we saw, and if it can make the further improvements we have identified, there is no reason they shouldn’t strive to achieve an even better rating when we next inspect.
“The managers cannot afford to be complacent – improvements do still need to be made and good practice found elsewhere needs to be sustained – but this is a good trust which sets an example from which others can learn.”
Chief executive of the trust Michael Wilson praised staff for their hard work.
He said: “I am very proud of our staff – this is their story and I’m glad their talent, hard work and dedication has been recognised. This report also makes for reassuring reading for the community we serve and shows our commitment to safety and quality.
“The inspectors said our staff were the most engaged out of all of the trusts they had visited and I know this makes a real difference to patient experience and care. They also said they would be very proud to work here and would want their family and friends to be cared for here which is a wonderful endorsement of everyone’s efforts.”
CQC inspectors will return in due course to check the remaining improvements required have been made. A spokesman said the trust was already working on these.
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