Care Quality Commission downgrades University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust with Royal Sussex County Hospital rated as ‘inadequate’

Graham Robson May 16, 2023

On Friday, May 12, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its report into University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSx), which follows an inspection carried out seven months ago which focussed on how well-led the Trust is which examined the leadership, management and governance of the organisation making sure it is providing high-quality care that’s based around individual needs; that it encourages learning and innovation; and that it promotes an open and fair culture.

This latest rating, combined with ratings from previous CQC visits carried out over an 18-month period, has lowered the overall rating for the Trust to “requires improvement”, which means CQC does not consider the Trust to be performing as well as it should and that it must improve.

The report provided the following individual ratings to four of the seven hospitals operated by the UHSx Trust across Sussex:

  1. Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton: rated as “inadequate”, which means that the CQC believes the service is performing badly.
  2. Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath: rated as “requires improvement”.
  3. St Richards Hospital, Chichester: rated as “outstanding”.
  4. Worthing Hospital: rated as “outstanding”.

Alan Boyd, Chief Executive Officer for Healthwatch Brighton & Hove, said: “This latest CQC rating is clearly disappointing for patients but also all staff who work incredibly hard to ensure that patients receive excellent care. Of particular concern is that services at the Royal Sussex County are not considered to be safe although patients should be reassured that the care offered across the Trust has been rated as “outstanding”.

“Healthwatch works closely with the senior management team at the Trust and have been reassured by the actions that they have already been put in place to deliver the required improvements. We need to support our Trust as it continues its recovery from COVID-19 and embeds change to deliver improvements and Healthwatch will be there to do this whilst offering critical challenge and championing the patient voice and experience.”

The latest rating is based on the views of 120 staff members who shared their views about the leadership at the Trust. The CQC report highlights that all staff need to feel supported to carry out their jobs and be listened to. In December, just 49% of staff felt confident about being able to speak out but by March this year, this had risen to 58%.

To see the report in full, CLICK HERE