East Sussex MPs praise hospital trust for ‘ambitious target’

Huw Merriman MP for Bexhill and Battle SUS-150527-122604001
Huw Merriman MP for Bexhill and Battle SUS-150527-122604001

A hospital trust which apologised for ‘letting down’ patients is aiming to pull itself out of special measures within a year.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne DGH, said it has taken ‘positive steps’ to improve following an ‘inadequate’ CQC inspection.

Three East Sussex MPs – Huw Merriman, Amber Rudd and Caroline Ansell – met the trust’s senior management team and the Trust Development Authority (TDA) in Westminster to discuss it’s improvement plan.

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, said: “Although the trust has a challenging journey ahead of it to move out of special measures, I was pleased to hear that they have already given themselves the ambitious target of achieving this within a year.

“I believe their clear ambition to improve patient experience and ensure staff are at the centre of any changes is 
essential if they are to achieve this.

“I am looking forward to spending a busy night with medical and nursing staff on A&E at the Conquest in the next few weeks to see first-hand the issues they face.”

In September, Healthwatch East Sussex called for volunteers to help the hospital. More than 80 residents answered the organisation’s call to form a volunteer task group, and 50 volunteers have already received training.

They will be gathering information from patients at both hospitals until April, 2016, to see if hospital services have improved. Julie Fitzgerald, director for Healthwatch East Sussex, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for not only Healthwatch East Sussex but for the trust to encourage more patients and carers to share their feedback as well as gather a broader perspective of views and experiences.

“We understand senior managers and board members will also be joining the volunteers from time to time, and we welcome the trust’s commitment to increasing greater patient engagement.”

Richard Sunley, acting chief executive said the trust is committed to improving public and patient engagement.

He said: “Having a greater insight and understanding of patients experiences is invaluable and will help us improve the services we offer.”

Maggie Oldham, improvement director for the trust, told MPs that in order for the trust to move out of special measures, patients must be at the centre of everything they do.

Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings, said the trust has identified two issues which will help the hospitals improve.

“This was a really positive meeting with the trust and I believe that they have identified the two key issues that will successfully bring about these improvements – putting patients at the centre of the trust and ensuring staff at all levels are fully engaged and supported.”

She said she was ‘looking forward’ to working closely with the trust.