General News

Inspectors recommend Royal Sussex County Hospital be put into special measures

Besi Besemar August 17, 2016

Inspectors recommended the largest hospital trust in Sussex be put into special measures.

Royal Sussex County Hospital
Royal Sussex County Hospital

In a report published today, The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton (RSCH) and the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH), Haywards Heath are both singled out for severe criticism.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says it found patients at the RSCH in Brighton were kept in operating theatre recovery areas for three days with no toilets and patient safety was put at risk in several areas including Accident & Emergency. The Trust has apologised to patients following the publication of the report.

Based on this poor performance, BSUH which includes RSCH and PRH, Haywards Heath, is likely to be placed into special measures, be subjected to close scrutiny and required to devise a clear plan to address the issues of concern.

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove (HWB&H), the official consumer watchdog for health and social care in Brighton and Hove works closely with the CQC, the government inspectors for health and care services and has registered its disappointment at the poor performance highlighted in the report.

The CQC report scores BSUH as inadequate overall or needing improvement against five key areas:

♦      SafetyInadequate

♦      EffectivenessNeeding improvement

♦      CaringNeeding improvement

♦      ResponsivenessInadequate

♦      LeadershipInadequate

Three issues in the inspection report are of particular concern to Healthwatch:

♦      Culture of bullying and harassment with a disconnect between staff and the leaders in the Trust

♦      Poor standards of care in some areas and dignity of patients not always respected

♦      Strong feeling by staff that issues of equality and diversity are not always given the priority they deserve

Concerns about issues of patient safety, quality of care and the poor physical environment at RSCH have been expressed by both CQC and HWB&H in the past.

CQC inspections in 2014 and 2015 warned of services that were inadequate and needing improvement.

HWB&H also raised concerns with the Trust Board and in April 2016 provided a report on the RSCH Emergency Department that identified a range of serious problems including lack or privacy, patients experiencing long waits and not receiving prompt and appropriate care.

David Liley
David Liley

HWB&H CEO David Liley, says: “A lack of leadership both in the Boardroom and on the wards seems to have led to staff in some clinical areas losing track of some basic aspects of proper care; that might be hand washing, providing privacy for patients or making sure patients know at all times how their care is progressing.”

“The CQC report identifies a vast difference between the excellent care being provided in some parts of the RSCH and PRH – for example in the Children’s services.”

“We are aware that BSUH has a recovery plan and we have already offered our support to help improve care and leadership, Healthwatch has a good working relationship with the Trust and we can already see changes in some areas. Work has already been carried out to provide better waiting space in the Emergency Department. However, many more improvements are required, Healthwatch has, over the last six weeks, been reviewing care in the RSCH Outpatients Department and will be helping the Trust to improve its engagement with patients and to address issues of equality and diversity in patient care.”

Simon Kirby MP
Simon Kirby MP

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven, commented: “Local residents in Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven will be rightly concerned about the CQC report but I believe that being put into “Special Measures” is a positive move as it will mean that the Trust will receive additional support and that their improvement plan is closely monitored by regulators.”

“I very much hope that the issues highlighted in the report will be addressed and that we will see significant improvements very quickly.”

Green Councillors have been warning for some time of a looming crisis ahead of the busy winter period.

Cllr Dick Page
Cllr Dick Page

Councillor Dick Page, Green spokesperson on the Health & Wellbeing Board, said: “This is a very worrying development which comes after months of ongoing issues with the hospital trust. It’s clear that the measures that have been taken to date simply aren’t working, and if decisive steps aren’t taken now we could see a massive crisis over the busier winter months.

“That’s why were calling on the chair of the city’s Health & Wellbeing board, Labour Councillor Dan Yates, to seek urgent reassurances from the hospital trust and CCG at the next board meeting that there is a clear and meaningful action plan to bring the hospital out of special measures as soon as possible.

“In the longer-term, more hospitals are going to find themselves in difficulty unless the Government commits to adequately fund the NHS and social care to cope with our ageing population.  It’s simply unacceptable that the Government can find billions to spend on nuclear technology, while our NHS collapses under the strain”.

HWB&H is one of 148 Local Healthwatch organisations that feeds into the national body Healthwatch England, set up in October 2012 with legal rights to enter and view publicly funded health and adult social care settings and to be responded to within 20 days by the provider of health and adult social care services.

HWB&H is funded by the Department of Health and commissioned through Brighton and Hove City Council, but is independent of the NHS and BHCC.