HOSPITALS across Sussex are among the worst in the country for not reporting blunders, new figures suggest.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has come bottom of a new national league table which rates services on their reporting culture, openness and transparency.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust were ranked 201 and 206 out of 230 respectively.

All three trusts were said to have a poor reporting culture.

The tables were introduced as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are to be given a legally protected "safe space" to report concerns and mistakes to a new independent NHS investigation branch.

The aim is to encourage potential whistleblowers to come forward and help trusts learn from their mistakes.

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch will conduct "timely, no blame" investigations into information provided by those who speak out honestly.

Mr Hunt said this would reduce the "defensive culture" patients often come across, give families the truth more quickly and allow healthcare professionals more support and protection to speak out.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust acting chief executive Richard Sunley said: “We are naturally very disappointed to have been rated as having a poor reporting culture.

“We are absolutely committed to learning from mistakes to ensure we improve our patient care.

“Over the past year we have undertaken a significant amount of work to empower our staff to raise incidents, and improve services.

“It is nationally recognised that organisations with a good incident reporting culture are safer, and our incident reporting has increased by 30 per cent.

“We have also appointed a ‘speak up’ guardian who is an independent person for staff to talk to and raise any concerns they have about their working life.

“We would like to reassure members of the public who use our services that keeping patients safe is our priority.”

The Department of Health said the aim of the tables was to encourage NHS trusts to look at how well others are doing and improve the ways they can encourage staff to speak up.

The table, published by launched by regulators Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, was gathered from various data sources including the NHS staff survey.

It shows nationally that 120 organisations were rated as outstanding or good but there were significant concerns about 78 providers and 32 were rated as poor.