Watchdog warns East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust to improve

ROBUST ACTION is needed to improve and meet patient needs according to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a formal warning to the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

A latest inspection showed the Trust must do more to improve the way it monitors and assesses the standards of treatment and care that patients receive.

The warning follows inspections at the trust in February, April and September 2011, which highlighted a number of failings putting patients at risk of harm.

Ian Biggs, Deputy Director of CQC in the South, said: “People using services at the Trust should continue to do so. We would take immediate action to protect people if we felt that there was a serious immediate risk of harm. Nevertheless, the trust needs to take this warning very seriously indeed.”

The Deputy CQC Director warned that essential standards to protect vulnerable people who find it hard to speak up for themselves was at risk.

He added: “NHS trusts have a duty to make sure that the care they deliver meets the government’s essential standards in order to deliver safe and good quality care to patients. CQC has a range of legal powers it can use to protect the people who use services run by the trust if it finds required progress has not been made. This warning sends a clear message that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust needs to address these issues or face serious consequences.”

The inspection last September, following up on previous outstanding concerns at the trust, found that while improvements had been made in some areas a range of concerns still remained.

These concerns included issues regarding consent to care and treatment, care and welfare of people; safeguarding people who use services; staffing and the Trust’s ability to effectively assess and monitor the quality of the services it is providing.

The Trust has until March 31 to comply with the regulation relating to assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

CQC Inspectors found during the September inspection

There was a lack of evidence that patients with reduced mental capacity had access to advocacy, or that best interest meetings had taken place with regard to decisions on their behalf such as Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) decisions.

Other concerns were given about monitoring processes, inadequate staffing arrangements, reporting arrangements to the Board were ‘not robust enough’ and care plans were incomplete in a number of areas of care.