CQC praises significant improvements at ESHT and issues improved rating

January 26, 2017

Following its re-inspection of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust in October 2016, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recognised significant improvements. The CQC has upgraded the Trust’s rating to ‘requires improvement’ having rated the organisation ‘inadequate’ in September 2015. Care across the Trust was rated as ‘good’. The Trust remains in special measures to support its continuing improvement.

The CQC report says:

“Staff put the provision of compassionate and dignified care as a priority.”

“There is no doubt that substantial improvements have been made since our last inspection.”

“When we visited wards we saw warmth that was missing on both our previous inspections.”

“The change of culture since our last inspection is remarkable.”

“It is clear that morale and engagement of the workforce is now much higher.”

Dr Adrian Bull, Chief Executive, said: “I am very pleased that the CQC has recognised the progress that has been made since our last inspection. It is testament to the hard work and commitment of people across the organisation who continually seek to provide good care for our patients.

“We have a talented and professional workforce and the rating of ‘good’ for being caring is recognition of this. However, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure we provide consistently high standards of care across all of our services. We must continue to seek out every opportunity to make improvements to achieve our ambition of becoming outstanding.

“Our aim is to be an organisation which provides excellent healthcare for the people of East Sussex, and one in which people are happy and proud to work.

“In the coming year we will continue to focus on our key priorities – which include recruiting and retaining more permanent clinical staff; improving the management and flow of patients through our hospitals; reducing waiting times for investigations and planned surgery; further developing our community services; and achieving financial sustainability.

“We are glad to be collaborating closely with the County Council and our host CCGs in the East Sussex Better Together programme. By working together we will continue to develop health and care services that best meet the needs of the people of East Sussex and are fully coordinated around individual patients.”

Key findings of the inspection include:

  • Improved surgery at all hospitals, with services at both Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH upgraded to ‘good’ overall from ‘inadequate’.
  • All services rated ‘good’ for ‘caring’, with very positive feedback from patients with respect to the caring nature of staff.
  • Improved leadership and an executive team very well aligned with a coherent and consistent view of strategic, operational issues and risk.
  • A “transformed” organisational culture within the Trust, whose change has been remarkable since the last inspection.
  • Critical care rated as good across the organisation.
  • Improved infection control and cleanliness with significant improvements in hand hygiene requirements across the Trust with the Trust noted as a largely clean environment
  • Maternity services are rated as ‘good’ for safe, caring and well led having previously been rated as ‘inadequate’ overall.

As well as the overall Trust rating the CQC gives an individual rating to each of the Trust’s two hospitals inspected last year.

  • Conquest Hospital – rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, with medical care, surgery and critical care all ‘good’.
  • Eastbourne District General Hospital – rated ‘requires improvement’ overall, ‘good’ ratings for surgery, critical care and outpatient and diagnostic imaging.

Within the reports the CQC commended fifteen areas for ‘outstanding practice’.

The CQC gives each hospital up to 54 individual ratings for different services including whether they are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led, and six ratings for the Trust. The CQC gave East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust a total of 114 ratings of which 52 were ‘good’ and two were ‘inadequate’ in 2016, compared to 11 ‘good’ and 23 ‘inadequate’ in 2015.

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