Special measures East Sussex NHS trust 'improves'

Conquest Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The trust manages Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne District General Hospital

A hospital trust should remain in special measures despite having made "significant" improvements, the health watchdog says.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust which runs Hastings's Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne District General Hospital, was put in special measures in 2015.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the trust as "requires improvement".

The trust said it had made progress but there was still "work to do".

Both the trusts's hospitals had previously been rated as "inadequate" by the CQC.

A&E 'deteriorating'

The CQC inspectors found surgery at both hospitals had improved from "inadequate" to "good" but improvements were "fairly recent and not fully embedded".

Prof Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals for the CQC said: "While the trust continues to make substantial progress, I remain concerned that performance within the emergency department is not as robust as it could be, and this is having an impact on the quality and timeliness of services for patients."

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Both of the trust's accident and emergency departments had poor staffing levels, poor record keeping and "deteriorating performance", inspectors reported.

The CQC said a new leadership team had been put in place and previous concerns of bullying "appeared to have been tackled".

The inspectors also said there were delays in transferring patients from ambulances to the A&E department due to a lack of staff.

Dr Adrian Bull, chief executive of the hospital trust said: "I am very pleased that the CQC has recognised the progress that has been made since our last inspection.

"However, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure we provide consistently high standards of care across all of our services."

He said the trust would be concentrating on recruiting and retaining more permanent clinical staff and reducing waiting times.

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