Health inspectors said the Princess Royal Hospital, and the NHS trust which runs it, is now rated ‘good’ and is no longer in special measures.
The Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust (BSUH), which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath, was rated ‘inadequate’ in August 2016. But this week, BSUH and both of its hospitals were rated ‘good’ overall.
But today (January 8), BSUH and both of its hospitals were rated ‘good’ overall.
Marianne Griffiths, BSUH chief executive, said: “This is fantastic news and thoroughly deserved. I know how hard all our staff have worked to achieve the improvements we all want to see and I am delighted that the results of those efforts have been recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS Improvement.
“The inspectors went away with a clear understanding that care is our top priority and that we have a brilliant workforce committed to doing everything they can for the patients they care for.
“Coming after our exit from financial special measures in July, this recognition is another important milestone in our improvement journey and should give us all confidence to achieve even greater things in the future.”
The report, published today, said the Trust was ‘outstanding’ for caring, although it ‘requires improvement’ for responsiveness.
Inspectors gave particular praise to the ‘patient first’ strategy, which it said had empowered staff ‘by equipping them with the lean tools, methods and a structured process which had helped to build and promote a culture of continuous improvement across the whole Trust’.
One of the concerns in the last inspection was the storage of hazardous substances. Inspectors found that action had been taken, and that cleaning cupboards now had swipe card access for authorised staff.
Caring was ‘outstanding’, and inspectors found that staff were ‘highly motivated and inspired to offer care that was kind and promoted people’s dignity’.
The Trust ‘requires improvement’ for responsiveness, as inspectors found their were capacity issues, but it inspected for some of these challenges to be alleviated once building work was complete at the 3Ts building and the emergency department at the Brighton site.
The CQC said the trust must take action at the Princess Royal in urgent and emergency care ‘to ensure that senior staff are monitoring delays in the initial clinical assessment of self-presenting patients so that all patients are assessed in a timely manner’, and to ‘provide enough nurses to ensure the safe care of patients in the emergency department’.
Services for children remained ‘outstanding’ overall, with aspects of medical care, maternity and critical care also given the highest rating of ‘outstanding’.
Professor Edward Baker, CQC chief inspector of hospitals, 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.”
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said BSUH had made ‘substantial improvement’ since the board of neighbouring Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WSHT) took over in April 2017.
Professor Baker added: “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.”