Patient watchdog welcomes Brighton hospital report while flagging up continuing concerns

Patient watchdog Healthwatch Brighton and Hove has welcomed the improvements identified in an official report about the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

But a number of concerns were also flagged up as the watchdog said that it would be meeting the hospital’s boss for a discussion.

Healthwatch was responding to the CQC (Care Quality Commission) report which rated the Royal Sussex and its parent trust Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals as “requires improvement”.

The report, published today (Thursday 10 August), recognised significant improvements since last year when the trust – Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) – was rated inadequate.

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Healthwatch Brighton and Hove’s chief officer David Liley said: “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.”

Healthwatch Brighton and Hove’s chair Fran McCabe said: “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 watchdog acknowledged that the CQC report had recognised the dedication of staff in Brighton and Haywards Heath.

It also said: “The CQC report identifies over 60 issues on which it expects the Royal Sussex 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 Royal Sussex and Princess Royal Hospital) remains in financial special measures with a deficit of around £67 million.”

Healthwatch said that it worked closely with hospital bosses and staff – and at no cost to the NHS – to provide

  • the co-chair of the Patient Experience Panel which provides an opportunity for patients to give feedback to the hospital
  • detailed reports of patient experiences at the hospital which were provided as evidence to the CQC inspectors and have been used by hospital staff to improve patient care
  • monthly environmental audits of the hospital aimed at improving patient areas
  • an independent peer review of complaints

Healthwatch also attends the Quality Oversight Committee where the CQC, NHS Improvement and hospital bosses co-ordinate and report on regulatory and other quality and safety improvements.

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