A HOSPITAL trust has been singled out by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt after almost all its outpatients praised the service.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust revealed 97.5 per cent of patients who took part in a friends and family test said they would recommend the department to others.

Trust chief medical officer George Findlay said the result was “exemplary” and one everyone involved should be proud of.

Mr Hunt said: “The trust is a real example to others, demonstrating how to ensure that your patients get the care that they deserve.

“From visiting organisations throughout the country, I know the immense amount of work that will have been behind this outcome cannot be underestimated.

“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the trust’s staff.

“Please do pass on my congratulations to all those who work at the trust.

“The service they give makes a real difference to the lives of many of the area’s sickest and most vulnerable patients.”

Dr Findlay said improving patient experience was a key goal and the score was remarkable considering the number of people who use the trust’s outpatients department.

The trust runs Worthing Hospital, St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.

Nationally, the average score for outpatients is 93.4 per cent, up from 92 per cent in 2015/16.

Back then the trust had an average score of 92.4 per cent but it has made continuous improvements ever since.

Dr Findlay said: “This puts us top in Sussex and Surrey and firmly in the top ten for NHS South.

“The numbers of patients involved are huge.

“Last year, our outpatient teams had 594,337 appointments – each representing the production of booking letters and phone calls, the transfer and updating of notes, the welcome of clinic staff and not forgetting the actual care provided by our clinicians and therapists.

“It’s all too easy to remember the cancellations we’ve had to make or the clinic that ran late instead of realising what we are achieving each and every day.

“We are acutely aware that there remains much more room for improvement but let’s not forget we are seeing improvement.

“Our interventions and patient first approach are making a real difference where it counts, in our busiest departments for the people we serve.

“For this to be recognised personally by the Secretary of State for Health is a tremendous achievement for everyone.”