In October 2023, Young Healthwatch East Sussex (HWES) undertook an ‘Enter and View’ review of the Paediatric Department at The Conquest Hospital in Hastings, operated by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT).

As part of the process, we also undertook a ’15 steps challenge’ to understand what service users and carers experience when they first arrive in a healthcare setting.

By Healthwatch East Sussex
Enter and View ESHT

We heard

Patients and their parents/carers told us that they felt listened to and cared for by department staff, and that they were kept well-informed.

“Staff have been really clear on what is happening. We get a text a few days before the appointment as a reminder.”


The main issue identified from all those engaged with, was that the department was more geared towards younger children and did not feel as suitable for older children and teens.

“There’s not enough things for older children to do, so they [their child] are bored. Activity booklets for older children would help.”

“Could be more child centered (better decorated), comfy and private, but plain.”


What we did

A mixture of HWES staff, adult volunteers (over 21) and young volunteers (13 to 18) visited the outpatient area, Short Stay Paediatric Assessment Unit (SSPAU) and inpatient ward (Kipling Ward) and engaged with patients and their parents/carers to gather their views on the department, what worked well, and what could be improved.

Our Enter and View was undertaken in collaboration with the Hospital Trust. During our visits to the paediatric unit, we engaged with 3 staff members and 10 patients and their parents/carers, with patients ranging from 4 months to 15 years old.


Our recommendations

Using the information we gathered from patients, families and carers and department staff, HWES made recommendations to ESHT for improvements focused on:

  1. Updating the décor in the paediatric department to make it more appealing and appropriate for a wider age range.
  2. Ensuring that there are enough activities and entertainment options available for older children and teenagers.
  3. Having more staff available in the department so that patients can be given the best possible care.
  4. Ensuring that there are enough trained staff able to offer young people appropriate and robust support for their mental health needs.

Additional recommendations for each area of the department (Outpatients, Short Stay Pediatric Assessment Unit and Kipling Ward) were made using the feedback from our young volunteers who undertook the 15 Step Challenge.


Response from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

“We’d like to thank Healthwatch East Sussex for working with our Paediatric services at Conquest Hospital on this review, which continues to support our objective to work in partnership with Healthwatch East Sussex to improve our services for local communities.

Work has already begun to address the recommendations made by Healthwatch and this report will be revisited  and used as a measure for a second enter and view later this year.”


Next steps

As the public champion for local health and care services, Healthwatch East Sussex will continue to work in partnership with commissioners and providers to monitor the experiences of patients and the public in accessing health and care services locally and explore how ongoing improvements may be delivered.

We will share the attached report with East Sussex County Council, NHS Sussex, Healthwatch England and others to share this insight and encourage its incorporation into future initiatives.


Tell Us Your Experiences 

Please tell us your experiences of local health and care services via our Feedback Centre and let us know how this has been for you. 

We want to hear if it has been good, bad or indifferent.


Help and support with Health and Care 

If you need help or support related to health or care, then please contact our Information & Signposting Service via 

0333 101 4007 or 

View the report

Click the link below to download the report

HWES - ESHT Paediatric Services - Enter and View Report 2024 Download File (pdf 204.51 KB)
HWES - ESHT Paediatric Services - 15 Steps Challenge Report 2024 Download File (pdf 140.04 KB)

Related Reports

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Complaints Review 2023

Healthwatch East Sussex (HWES) have utilised a team of independent volunteers to review the processes used by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) when they are in receipt of a complaint.

Complaints ESHT
Read More
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