Lewes MP welcomes 'specialist help' for hospital trust

Maria Caulfield has welcomed 'specialist help' for NHS trust
Maria Caulfield has welcomed 'specialist help' for NHS trust

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has welcomed moves to place a Sussex NHS trust into special measures, saying it will give it access to  ‘specialist help’.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) officially requested Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust be placed into special measures this week after its inspectors raised serious concerns about care at the trust.

Ms Caulfield, a NHS nurse who used to work at the trust, spoke with its recently appointed chief executive Dr Gillian Fairfield following the publication of the health watchdog’s report on Wednesday (August 17).

Ms Caulfield said: “Although many will view this as a negative step, it will in fact mean that the trust receives increased funding and specialist help.

“I was reassured by what Dr Gillian Fairfield had to say on the matter, and believe she will use this news constructively in ensuring the trust better serves its patients and staff in future.

“I worked at this NHS trust for many years, and a number of the issues raised by the CQC go back to that time, and have failed to have been tackled by previous management. I therefore very much welcome the news that at last the strain that staff work under and the poor experience for patients has been recognised and that a way to address this is being devised.

“East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust has been through the same process – going into special measures in September 2015 – and signs of improvement are already apparent.

“I have personally offered to assist the trust, and will be doing everything I can to support them as they go through this process, which will do so much to improve patient care.”

In its report the CQC said urgent and emergency services as well as medical care, critical care and outpatient care at Royal Sussex County Hospital were all inadequate for safety.

Meanwhile staff from black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds and other protected groups reported bullying, harassment and discrimination were rife in the organisation.

Inspectors also said the trust suffered from ‘overcrowding’ leading to a loss in patient’s privacy.

Despite the wider concerns inspectors praised some areas of the trust including its care of children, virtual fracture clinic and dedicated stroke wards.

Inspectors particularly praised the trust's work at Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, which they rated as 'Outstanding'.