East Sussex scrutiny committee has “no confidence” in hospital bosses

Stuart Welling, Chairman of the East Sussex Healthcare Trust and Darren Grayson Chief Executive
Stuart Welling, Chairman of the East Sussex Healthcare Trust and Darren Grayson Chief Executive

The committee which scrutinises the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) said it has “no confidence” in the trust’s leadership.

East Sussex’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) met today (May 22) at County Hall in Lewes, to discuss the damning CQC report which was published in March.

Darren Grayson Chief Executive Officer East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. May 17th 2011 E20063M SUS-150104-121646001

Darren Grayson Chief Executive Officer East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. May 17th 2011 E20063M SUS-150104-121646001

The report judged ESHT and its hospitals, the Eastbourne DGH and The Conquest in Hastings, as “inadequate”.

It did, however, rate the trust “good” for caring.

A motion which was unanimously agreed by members of HOSC, said, “Whilst recognising the caring qualities of staff, that East Sussex HOSC expresses great concern at the findings of the CQC inspection, has no confidence in the chairman or the chief executive of the trust, calls on ESHT to implement the improvement plan with a matter of urgency, and expects ESHT to give regular updates to ensure HOSC members are fully informed of the progress of that improvement plan.”

The CQC (Care Quality Commission), Healthwatch, CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) and Trust Development Authority (TDA), attended the meeting alongside board members from ESHT.

These included chief executive of the trust Darren Grayson, and chairman Stuart Welling.

The pair were asked by members why they had not resigned in the wake of the report.

“You are the captain of this ship which has hit rocks, and it is starting to sink,” said Cllr Michael Wincott.

“The biggest morale boost you can give to staff is to say sorry and then offer your resignation.”

But Mr Welling said, “No, we are not resigning. We always took the view that the leadership of the organisation has a job to do and it is a difficult job.”

Mr Grayson said, “We are absolutely clear that we are on a journey of improvement here.”

Members heard from ESHT board members on its improvement plan for the future, overall, and in areas such as maternity and surgery, which were flagged up in the report.

It said issues around staffing levels were being addressed, particularly in maternity, and “the disconnect” between staff and leadership was also being looked into.

Members also heard a second CQC report, which will establish whether the trust goes into special measures, will not be published until July.

The second report will focus on an unannounced inspection which took place in March, just days before the first damning report was published.

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