Hospitals in Haywards Heath and Brighton need ‘significant improvements’ - CQC

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust that it needs to improve its services at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath.

A statement from the commission, published today, said the Trust has until the end of August to make ‘significant improvements’ in three main areas:

-The trust’s systems to assess, monitor, and mitigate risks to people receiving care and treatment as inpatients and outpatients were not operating effectively. Patients were being put at unnecessary risk because they were not being dealt with properly or in appropriate areas.

-There were ineffective systems to ensure the care privacy and dignity of people attending both hospitals as inpatients and outpatients.

-The trust had been failing to ensure patients are seen in line with national timescales for diagnosis and treatment. In many services, too many patients were on waiting lists which failed to meet national standards.

Professor Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “People being treated at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust are entitled to a service that is consistently safe, effective and responsive to their needs. Throughout our inspection we found that patients were not receiving the quality of care that they are entitled to expect, or within the timescales required.

“There is limited evidence to show these issues were being addressed at board level. We have told the trust they must improve and treat patients in a timely manner with care, dignity and respect. We have given the trust until the 30 August to address these immediate concerns.

“We will continue to monitor the trust closely, and will be returning in the near future to check that the trust has got an improved grip on these immediate issues.”

A report of the inspection will be published in due course.

The warning notice, issued under Section 29A of the Health and Social Care Act, follows a full inspection of the Trust’s facilities in April this year.

A statement from the Trust said:

“The Trust is already working hard on delivering an improvement plan designed to address the issues raised by the CQC and has taken action on the most immediate concerns since their April visit. These actions include amongst others:

“-Escalation processes being changed to better manage patients at the Royal Sussex County Hospital during periods of high demand in the Emergency Department.

“-A redesign of the Royal Sussex County Hospital Emergency Department, which will provide more cubicles for patient assessment and treatment from the beginning of July.

“-Implementing patient quality and safety checklists in the Emergency Department and undertaking ‘comfort rounds’ to ensure waiting patients brought in by ambulance are comfortable.

“-The opening of a 24/7 surgical assessment unit for patients referred by GPs.

“-Putting in place new Trust-wide governance arrangements.

“-Changes to the Trust Board and how it operates.

Dr Gillian Fairfield, Interim Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are very sorry that we have let down our patients, their relatives and our local communities. For the Trust Board and our executive leadership the priority now is to do everything we can to put matters right and ensure that our patients receive the safe and high quality care that they deserve and have a right to expect.

“The CQC Warning Notice makes difficult reading and over the past ten weeks since my arrival here there have been a number of changes both at executive and non-executive board level and importantly changes to how we deliver care for our patients. We are working hard and closely with our partners on delivering an improvement plan designed to address the CQC’s concerns and have taken action on the most immediate concerns since the April visit.

“It is a matter of public record that we are operating under difficult conditions with many old buildings that are difficult to maintain but this is no excuse. Whatever the constraints, we need to ensure that our patients receive safe, high quality care that fully respects their privacy and dignity.”

Antony Kildare, Acting Chair of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We take the CQC feedback very seriously indeed. The CQC’s full report will be published later in the summer and when it is we will offer the public a full account of what we are doing to put things right and what progress we’ve made. Until then our entire focus is on the achievement of rapid improvement.”

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