CQC Finds Significant Improvement at Royal Sussex County Hospital

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove (HWBH) welcomes the latest Care Quality Commission [CQC] report published today on the Royal Sussex County Hospital [RSCH], and for their sister hospital, the Princess Royal Hospital [PRH] at Haywards Heath. The reports can be accessed by clicking on the links here: Royal Sussex County Hospital / Princess Royal Hospital

In April 2016, the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) was inspected by the CQC and rated as inadequate in its report published last August.  Following publication of that report the trust was placed into ‘special measures’ by the NHS. Since then, the trust has moved swiftly to address the most serious issues that directly impact patient care.  The current overall rating for the RSCH has changed from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Needs Improvement’ in just 12 months.

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove’s Chief Officer, David Liley, said today: “By anyone’s measure this is rapid and important progress, and made over a period before the new hospital leadership were fully in place. Clearly there is still much to do as the hospital is rated inadequate for ‘Safety’ and that seems to be focused on ‘Intensive and Critical Care’.”

The CQC report recognises the dedication of staff in Brighton and Haywards Heath.  Both the RSCH and PRH have been rated ‘Good’ for Patient Care, and at the RSCH, Children’s Services have been rated as ‘Outstanding’, with Maternity and Gynaecology, and End of Life Care being rated as ‘Good’.

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove’s Chair, Fran McCabe, said today: “The dedication of NHS staff to patient care at the RSCH has been recognised in this report and they deserve our support. Dealing with years of building works and the legacy of poor leadership cannot be easy. Healthwatch volunteers are welcomed in the hospital and see positive staff attitudes and a renewed focus on patient care.”

The CQC report identifies over 60 issues on which it expects the RSCH to take action and the hospital remains in ‘special measures’ – which means its progress to improve quality and safety will be closely monitored by the CQC.

Healthwatch remains particularly concerned by a number of issues including: the challenging workforce shortages in some areas; the continuing need to improve the 18 week referral to treatment performance; the need to provide information to patients who do not have English as a first language; the number of patient and staff support systems where routine checks need to be in place, and the low proportion of staff trained in Adult Safeguarding.  In addition, BSUH (which includes the RSCH and PRH) remains in financial special measures with a deficit of around £67m.

Healthwatch work closely with the RSCH and at no cost to the NHS we provide the following:

  • We co-Chair a Patient Experience Panel which provides an opportunity for patients to feedback to the hospital.
  • We provide detailed reports of patient experiences at the hospital and these have been provided as evidence to the CQC inspectors, and are used by hospital staff to improve patient care.
  • We conduct monthly environmental audits of the hospital aimed at improving patient areas.
  • We provide an Independent Peer Review of Complaints received.
  • We attend the Quality Oversight Committee where the CQC, NHS Improvement and the BSUH Trust co-ordinate and report on regulatory and other quality and safety improvements.

In the light of this latest CQC report Healthwatch Brighton and Hove have been invited by Marianne Griffiths, CEO of BSUH Trust, to tour the hospital and to meet and discuss our joint work for the future.  In that spirit of partnership we congratulate the staff of the RSCH and PRH for the rapid improvements they have made and we will support the new management to make further improvements.

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