The NHS trust that runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital has been taken out of special measures.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) has been rated good after a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent health and care watchdog.
The trust, which also runs the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital, was previously rated as inadequate.
The chief inspector of hospitals in England, Ted Baker, and his inspectors found that the trust had made enough progress under its new board to justify asking the health quango NHS Improvement to end the “special measures” regime which entailed extra supervision.
A team of CQC inspectors visited the trust in September to check the quality of six core services: urgent and emergency care, surgery, critical care, medical care, including older people’s care, maternity and outpatients.
The CQC also looked specifically at the trust’s management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well-led?
The watchdog said: “Overall the trust is now rated ‘good’ for the quality of its services. The trust is rated ‘outstanding’ for being caring and good for being safe, effective, and well led.
“The trust is also rated ‘requires improvement’ for being responsive to people’s needs.”
The 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 “requires improvement” for using its resources productively.
Professor Baker said: “I am pleased to report that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has made real progress. The trust has met the requirements we demanded of them at our last inspection while at the same time developing and embedding an successful quality improvement strategy.
“Two years ago, we rated the trust as ‘inadequate’ overall because of concerns relating to patient safety, the organisational culture and governance throughout the trust. Since that time we have been keeping a close watch, with support from local stakeholders.
“I have no doubt that the additional support from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has helped the trust to address the shortcomings that had been identified, much of the credit must go to the new leadership team at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and to the commitment and hard work of the staff.
“I congratulate them on what they have achieved. The overall rating of good reflects a substantial improvement in the quality of services at the trust and I am happy to recommend that it is removed from special measures.”
The CQC said: “Staff told inspectors that they had seen a dramatic change in the past six to nine months. They described this change as powerful, positive and felt included in the strategy and overall change.
“In the past staff said they had not always felt supported but the new executive team gave them the confidence to raise concerns and they felt assured that their concerns would be listened to and acted on appropriately.
“The board and senior leadership team leadership team promoted a culture that supported and valued staff. There was now a sense of common purpose based on shared values and staff morale had improved since the last inspection.”
Inspectors rated caring as cutstanding. Staff treated patients with compassion and with kindness. Patients told inspectors that the care they received exceeded their expectations.