Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust 'must improve services'

Royal Sussex County Hospital Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has until the end of August to improve its performance

An NHS trust has been told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to make significant improvements at two of its hospitals.

It follows inspections at Brighton's Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital, in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, in April.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has until the end of August to improve its performance.

The trust said it was "working hard on delivering an improvement plan".

The Care Quality Commission's three main areas for improvement

  • The trust's systems to assess, monitor, and mitigate risks to people receiving care and treatment as inpatients and outpatients were not operating effectively. Patients were being put at unnecessary risk because they were not being dealt with properly or in appropriate areas.
  • There were ineffective systems to ensure the care, privacy and dignity of people attending both hospitals as inpatients and outpatients.
  • The trust had been failing to ensure patients are seen in line with national timescales for diagnosis and treatment. In many services, too many patients were on waiting lists which failed to meet national standards.
Image copyright Paul Gillett / Geograph
Image caption The CQC said patients should be treated in a timely manner with care, dignity and respect

Deputy chief inspector of hospitals, Prof Edward Baker, said patients were "entitled to a service that is consistently safe, effective and responsive to their needs".

"We have told the trust they must improve and treat patients in a timely manner with care, dignity and respect."

He added that inspectors would be returning to the hospitals "in the near future to check that the trust has got an improved grip on these immediate issues".

The CQC report is due to be published later in the summer.

Dr Gillian Fairfield, interim chief executive at the trust, said the warning notice had made "difficult reading".

"We are very sorry that we have let down our patients, their relatives and our local communities.

"For the trust board and our executive leadership the priority now is to do everything we can to put matters right and ensure that our patients receive the safe and high quality care that they deserve and have a right to expect.

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