Hospitals in East Sussex are moving closer towards providing a full seven-day service, NHS leaders say.
At a meeting today (April 2) the East Sussex Healthcare Trust (ESHT) board discussed the organisation’s work as part of a national programme, which aims to ensure patients receive the same level of care whatever day they enter hospital.
Partly introduced in November 2018, the programme includes a number of new standards for hospitals to meet at the weekend – including access to diagnosis and care from a specialist consultant.
While the trust, which runs the Eastbourne DGH and Conquest Hospital in Hastings, currently only meets one out of the four standards put forward, ESHT chief-executive Dr Adrian Bull told board members the organisation had already made major improvements.
Dr Bull said: “This is a significantly improved picture from where we were.
“The method of assessment is [also] changing and actually we are finding that our relative position as a trust is much better as well.”
The programme – which is still a work in progress – currently lays out four standards for the weekend: ensuring 90 per cent of patients are seen by a consultant within 14 hours; patients have their case reviewed regularly; and have access to both assessments and treatments.
Currently the trust is only meeting the standard around providing access to assessments to the same level as on a weekday.
But the board also heard how the trust was close to meeting a second of the four standards (around access to treatments), with the standard expected to be met in the coming month.
A third standard – around ensuring at least 90 per cent of patients have their condition reviewed regularly by a consultant – was also close to being met, the board heard.
Dr David Walker, the trust’s medical director, said: “We are working very hard on that. It requires a lot of change in dogma and how we assess the patient’s requirements and a lot of work is going on around that.”
Dr Walker added that the trust also met the fourth standard – for a patient to be seen by a consultant within 14 hours – ‘most of the time’.