Adult social care

  • A high proportion of East Sussex care homes have recently received an inadequate or requires improvement rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
  • We asked our partners Hastings Voluntary Action, Rother Voluntary Action and 3VA, to hold a series of focus groups (as well as talking to individuals) with care service users in their area. We wanted to understand, what matters most to people about the services they receive? It has emerged that many people are still unsure what is available, if they are eligible, and how they can access the support. The report will be published on our website in November 2015*.

Action: Healthwatch East Sussex is talking to the East Sussex County Council, Adult Social Care team, to explore these issues in more detail. This will include establishing a work programme of increased signposting and information on care support in line with the Care Act, as well as contributing to their Information and Advice plan.

Healthwatch East Sussex will also be working with Adult Social Care to review its complaints handling process.


East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT)

  • In September 2015, following an ‘Inadequate’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC),  ESHT was put into special measures by the Trust Development Agency (TDA).
  • Just prior to the CQC report being released, first the ESHT Chief Executive, and then the Chair both resigned. At present neither post has been filled.
  • A quality improvement action plan has been developed by the Trust. It is being scrutinised and monitored by key statutory partners such as the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), the Clinical Commissioning Groups, the Trust Development Agency and Healthwatch East Sussex.

Action: Healthwatch East Sussex has offered a package of support to ESHT, which includes developing a Sussex wide community engagement programme. We will be meeting with the Trust in November 2015 to finalise the details.

As part of our statutory powers, we will be conducting a series of Enter & View visits to the services detailed in the CQC report, and more widely where patients / members of the public tell us there is a concern.

This will provide a current view from patients of each service area, and our Volunteer Task Group will be doing this work. The information gathered will be shared with the Trust and the other partners involved.

Healthwatch East Sussex will also be working with the Trust to review its complaints handling process.


Young people

  • Healthwatch East Sussex has published a report which reviewed the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service**. The headline information was that it takes a while for people to receive a service, but the service is good once they get it. The report has been received by Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust. They confirmed it picked up a number of themes which are reflected in a recent CQC report, and where they are required to improve which is included in their action plan. They confirmed they will use the current CQC action plan to address the issues raised.
  • There is a gap in our information on how young people view local health and care services, and how this impacts on their health and wellbeing.

Action: Healthwatch East Sussex is developing a programme of engagement to gather young people’s views, and will be working with local voluntary and community sector partners to deliver this work. This will include targeting activity in schools.


Mental health

  • Healthwatch East Sussex has published a report which reviewed the mental health line service***. The headline information indicated issues with service quality and availability.
  • The report has been received by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. They confirmed it recognised the overall themes relating to communication, training, access, promotion, expectation, pathways and purpose. As a result the Trust has decided to review the service, and will liaise with and include Healthwatch East Sussex.

Action: Healthwatch East Sussex will continue to gather people’s experiences of mental health services, and ensure it is reported to the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and commissioners.

We will publish further details of the mental health line service review once they are developed. Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will be providing a public statement on what they have done so far following our report.


Primary care

  • High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), and Eastbourne Hailsham and Seaford CCG have taken over commissioning GP services in their areas from NHS England. Both CCGs have established a Primary Care Commissioning Committee (PCCC) to oversee this work. Healthwatch East Sussex is a non-voting member of each PCCC. Hastings and Rother CCG has also committed to follow the same process as of April 2016, and we will update people on how Healthwatch East Sussex will be involved.
  • Healthwatch East Sussex has been working with Patient Participation Groups (PPGs), providing a year’s free membership to the National Association of Patient Participation (NAPP). We are establishing an understanding of the types of collaboration, priority work, information and experience data PPGs can provide.
  • Healthwatch East Sussex is providing user experience information to the Surrey and Sussex NHS networks for Pharmacy, Optometry and Dentistry.

Action: Healthwatch East Sussex will be continuing to develop a partnership with East Sussex PPGs, and will be planning a review of GP telephone appointment requests, including the GP Out-of-Hours service.

We will also continue to ensure people’s experiences of GPs, dentists, pharmacist and opticians are shared with the East Sussex Better Together programme^. In particular so this information influences the development of the locality teams.


Links to reports:






Get involved

  • You can help us by continuing to share your experiences on our Feedback Centre, by emailing us, calling our information line, and by encouraging the people you know to share their experiences.
  • Voluntary and community sector organisations can also share their experiences with Healthwatch East Sussex.
  • Your voice counts! The more experiences and information we receive, the more powerful your voices become.

Telephone:   0333 101 4007 (local rate cost, we can call back if required).

Text:               0782 602 1114



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