Damning report is ‘shot in the arm’ that Brighton hospital needs

Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)
Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton (Photograph: Eddie Mitchell)

There is no quick fix for the ‘stark’ situation at the Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH), but the damning CQC report which branded the hospital ‘inadequate’ should be ‘the shot in the arm’ needed to kick start improvements.

Those were the words of Sue Huggins, senior regional officer for The Royal College of Nursing, who responded to the CQC report which has resulted in the hospital – and the Trust that runs it – to be placed into special measures.

The A&E at Brighton simply isn’t fit for purpose

The report on Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) was published this morning (Wednesday August 17).

Ms Huggins said: “This report is stark and hopefully the shot in the arm that the Trust needs. We know that the nurses are facing an uphill battle to provide excellent care as they are overwhelmed with a number of factors that are outside of their control. The A&E at Brighton simply isn’t fit for purpose – the population has grown so quickly since it was built that it cannot cope with the sheer number of patients coming through the doors. This then has a knock on effect elsewhere in the hospital.

“The nursing team will be devastated to receive this report and yet remain dedicated to providing the best care they can as they are professionals. No patient should ever have to receive care in a corridor and patients deserve dignified care at all times. This isn’t a problem unique to Brighton, but it is an indication that unsafe staffing levels mean that the appropriate standards can’t always be met.

“We have been in constant touch with managers over the past weeks. There is no quick fix for this, the Trust need to prioritise supporting their staff to provide the best care they can and the government need to look urgently at how Trusts such as Brighton are given proper, sustainable funding to allow them to meet the needs of the population they serve.”

David Liley, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove chief executive officer, said: “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 (Princess Royal, Haywards Heath) – 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.”

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