'Challenge' to bring East Sussex hospitals out of special measures

David Clayton-Smith
Image caption David Clayton-Smith was appointed to take over the East Sussex hospitals trust in January

A hospital trust with a near-£50m deficit will find it "a real challenge" to get out of special measures according to its new chairman.

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

It followed a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which said it was inadequate in areas including safety.

David Clayton-Smith was appointed chairman in January.

His predecessor Stuart Welling resigned soon after the trust was put into special measures after four years in the job.

Image caption The trust which Eastbourne District Hospital (pictured) and Conquest Hospital were rated inadequate

The CQC highlighted 12 areas in which the trust needed to improve - mainly in areas of staff-management relationships and patient confidentiality.

It highlighted a culture of bullying that caused a "widespread disconnect between the trust board and staff".

But all its care services were rated as good, with staff described as committed and treating patients with compassion, dignity and respect.

Mr Clayton-Smith said the trust needed a long-term, coherent plan.

"We need to be able to empower people within the organisation to put that plan in place," he said.

"We need to make sure we are not just ticking the boxes for things on the CQC report but we are making sure the services we provide are good, they are sustainable, they are safe and they are what we want to provide."

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