Formal apology issued over Conquest Hospital shortfalls

Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132833001
Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132833001

The board of a troubled hospital trust has met for the first time since its chairman resigned.

Stuart Welling, former chairman at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust stepped down on Tuesday – the day before members of the board were set to discuss a damning Care Quality Commission report which has seen the trust enter special measures.

The trust, which runs Conquest Hospital in Hastings, and the Eastbourne DGH, was rated as ‘inadequate’ overall for the second time in a year, despite being rated ‘good’ for caring.

Stuart Welling said: “Working with colleagues across the NHS and social care we play a pivotal role in enhancing and supporting the health of people across East Sussex.

“We don’t ever forget how valuable and valued this role is and I feel enormously privileged to have worked with my 7,000 colleagues at the trust, and those outside it, to improve healthcare for local people.”

Susan Bernhauser chaired the general meeting, held at the Hastings Centre on September 30, in place of Stuart Welling.

She said she was ‘very disappointed’ about the shortfalls identified in the report and formally apologised to East Sussex residents on behalf of the board.

Speaking at the meeting, Richard Sunley, acting chief executive of the trust said: “We do acknowledge that we have not delivered the standards the people in East Sussex rightly expect from us.

“We are tremendously proud of our staff that the caring measure is still identified as good. We are determined to make a new start. Our ambition is to deliver excellent healthcare for all our residents.”

Liz Walke, chair of the Save the DGH campaign group thanked the board for apologising, offered the group’s help to improve services and called for a review of the reconfiguration of services at the two hospitals. Howevever Susan Bernhauser said a reconfiguration was ‘not up for debate’.

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