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East Sussex council leader slams hospital bosses
5:20pm Wednesday 16th May 2012 in News
An outgoing council leader has slammed the performance of hospital bosses.
East Sussex County Council leader Peter Jones said he had no confidence in the chairman, chief executive and board of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and that they failed the county’s population miserably.
He warned his fellow councillors that they would have to be wary the trust didn’t play “divide and rule” between Eastbourne and Hastings and ensure that the trust fulfilled its promises to improve.
Coun Jones said that while the council’s social care services had vastly improved over the last decade, the hospital trust, which runs Eastbourne District General Hospital and the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards, was still failing to meet performance and financial targets.
He said that it was “wholly unacceptable” that the trust’s death rates in cancer, stroke and other conditions were some of the worst in the country.
He advised the trust to follow the example of the council and share services and work with neighbouring trusts.
Coun Jones has previously announced that he will step down from the county council at the next election in 2013 and is seen as one of the frontrunners to become the first elected police commissioner for Sussex.
A damning report from the Care Quality Commission last year unveiled a catalogue of failings in standards of care at the trust which led to chief executive Darren Grayson apologising to patients.
Coun Jones said: “Every year for the last ten years I have heard the chairman and the chief executive of the hospital trust tell me about how they are going to sort it out and how their latest plans would deliver quality healthcare and that they would reduce their financial deficit.
“Every year they have failed to do it.”
Mr Grayson said the trust balanced its books last year and anticipated doing so this year and in all future years.
He added: “Cancer services in East Sussex are widely regarded and in some parts are considered to be excellent.”
Trust chairman Stuart Welling said: “I met with Councillor Jones several months ago to discuss with him our ambitions for improving services and providing excellence for the people of East Sussex.
“At that meeting I offered to meet with him again to discuss any concerns that he might have about our plans and I have not heard from him since.
“Nonetheless, I look forward to |working with him in his remaining time |in office.”