‘Remarkable’ response to plea for Healthwatch East Sussex volunteers

Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132724001
Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132724001

An appeal for volunteers to improve a failing hospital trust has been greeted with a ‘wave of enthusiasm’.

Healthwatch East Sussex is forming a task group to work with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Conquest Hospital in Hastings and the Eastbourne DGH, following an inadequate inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

More than 70 people have already come forward to join the task group in a bid to ‘increase patient and public engagement’ with the trust’s hospitals and contribute to its improvement plan.

Julie Fitzgerald, director of Healthwatch East Sussex said: “I would like to say thank you to everyone who has shown such enthusiasm, and have contacted us about getting involved.

“It is a truly remarkable response from East Sussex residents, with over 70 people expressing an interest to date.

“We’ve had interest across the ages, and across all communities in East Sussex.

“At Healthwatch East Sussex, we think this shows there is a genuine local passion and enthusiasm by people, to support improving services at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.”

The organisation hopes the group will have a ‘visible presence’ within the trust over the next nine months, aiming to make sure patient feedback is ‘at the heart’ of its action plans.

The group appealed for people of all ages, women who have used local maternity services, carers, people with disabilities, patient participation groups, county, district, town and parish councils and people working in the voluntary sector.

A spokesman for Healthwatch East Sussex said: “70 people from all walks of life have already registered an interest.

“This wave of enthusiasm means that we are now pausing on sending out application packs.

“This will allow us to process those we have received.”

The group’s activities will be influenced by a CQC report from an inspection in March.

However the report, which the Observer believed would be published in July, is now expected in ‘late August’ to ‘early September’.

Since the inspection, Darren Grayson stepped down as chief executive of the trust.

A spokesman for the CQC said he believed the report was still being checked for ‘factual accuracy’ before the quality summit meeting.

Quality Summits are when CQC meet with the inspected organisation to inform about the findings of the inspection and to focus on the next steps needed, if required, to improve.

Speaking last week, A spokesman for Healthwatch East Sussex said: “Designed on what people tell us about their experiences with the trust, activities will also be influenced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report, expected to be published shortly.”

Training and support will be offered for the role, as well as reimbursement of expenses. To find out more to be added to the list, contact Elizabeth Mackie on 07794 097719 or email elizabeth.mackie@healthwatcheastsussex.co.uk by September 11, 2015.

Volunteers sought to improve East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

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