Hospitals have won national acclaim for their efforts in providing better and safer care at weekends.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of only 12 in the country to be highly commended by the influential healthcare information company Dr Foster.
The award came after the trust had a significant drop in the number of patients needing to be readmitted to hospital within 28 days of discharge, having initially been admitted at a weekend.
The improvement suggests good decision-making by staff and good co-operation between clinical teams, even at the weekends when the range of services available is more limited than during the working week.
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It also means that patients are less likely to suffer the upset and distress of an additional hospital visit.
Dr Foster chief executive Tim Baker said: “It is so important for communities to have a great service, not just Monday to Friday but at the weekend as well.”
Trust chief executive Marianne Griffiths said: “It is essential for our patients that we reduce the chances of them being readmitted into hospital.
“We are working closely with our partners to do just that – we are going in the right direction but we are not there yet.
“There are still times where it is difficult for us to provide the services at the weekend that we would like to, but we will focus on that relentlessly to get it right for our patients.”
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are only one of 12 Trusts to receive this award, and it is very good news.”
She added: “It is essential for our patients that we reduce the chances of them being readmitted to hospital.”