England’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals rates Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust as Outstanding

January 18, 2019

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has praised staff in Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for their work which has led to the trust’s Outstanding rating.

A team of inspectors from CQC visited East Surrey Hospital in November 2018 to check the quality of five core services: surgery, medical care, maternity services, urgent and emergency care and outpatients. CQC also looked specifically at management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well-led?

Overall the trust is now rated Outstanding overall for the quality of its services. The trust is rated Outstanding for being caring, responsive and well-led and Good for being safe and effective. 

CQC has also published the trust’s Use of Resources report, which is based on an assessment undertaken by NHS Improvement. The trust has been rated as Outstanding for using its resources productively.   Full reports are available at: https://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/RTP

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Edward Baker, said:

“In May 2014, our inspectors found Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was providing services that were rated Good overall – but with some areas for improvement particularly in outpatient services.  

“I am delighted to report that Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has built on those findings – not just in those areas where improvements were required, but in all areas.

“The trust’s determination to develop a culture of continuous improvement has improved services for patients across the board – enough to ensure that the overall rating has moved to Outstanding. 

“Staff spoke positively about the patient journey and the striving for continual improvement. This was especially clear in medical care and maternity which we rated overall as Outstanding and surgery which we rated as Outstanding for both caring and well led, with staff working effectively as a team in a coordinated way for the patients’ best interests 

“The hard work makes a real difference to the lives of people using the services, Everyone who has played a part in this should be proud of this great achievement.””

The inspection found significant improvements in Outpatients, which had previously struggled with the high demand for the service.  Staff and leaders reported that the culture had improved. There were quality improvement projects underway and staff had received training and were supported to identify areas for improvement themselves. 

Inspectors found that the trust had a clear vision and values which underpinned an exceptional culture placing patients at the heart of all they did, in all areas of the trust.  Recruitment and staff education was values led. Succession planning was thoroughly embedded which meant staff stayed within the organisation. 

Staff went above and beyond to meet the emotional and physical needs of patients. They took the time to get to know and understand patients and ensure they were comfortable, responding compassionately to those in pain or distress and giving reassurance and support. 

Overall, inspectors identified a number of areas of outstanding practice, including:

The maternity team had been shortlisted  in national awards under the maternity safety category for the development of safety pin notices –  that are used to share lessons that improve patient care. These were displayed in all clinical areas and were sent as weekly updates to all staff across the organisation. The initiative had been shared and adopted by NHS trusts across the country.


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