A HOSPITAL trust is celebrating after a major turnaround in its ratings to “good” – and “outstanding” for caring.

The news released yesterday follows an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in September.

It found dramatic change at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospital Trust, which in 2016 was placed in special measures for finance and quality.

The trust governs Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Sussex Eye Hospital and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath.


Above Dame Marianne Griffiths

Trust boss Dame Marianne Griffiths, brought in as a troubleshooter in April 2017, said yesterday: “This is fantastic news and thoroughly deserved. This recognition is another important milestone in our improvement journey and should give us all confidence to achieve even greater things in the future.

“Today is a great day for staff and good news for patients.”

The trust was put under special measures in 2016 following a damning report by the CQC.

The measures relating to finance were lifted in July.

But now the chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Edward Baker, has recommended that it should come out of special measures entirely.

He said: “I am pleased to report that the trust has made real progress.

“Two years ago, we rated the trust as inadequate overall because of concerns relating to patient safety, the organisational culture and governance throughout the trust.

“I congratulate them on what they have achieved.

“The overall rating of good reflects a substantial improvement in the quality of services at the trust and I am happy to recommend that it is removed from special measures.”

Staff at the trust believe the change in the top management at has helped change its fortunes.

Ward manager Zingy Thetho has worked for the trust for nearly 20 years.


Above Zingy Thetho

She said: “It’s amazing. The mood here has changed, before everyone was down and feeling that we had failed.

“These results tell us what we already know but it gives as such confidence.”

Ann Gibbins, who has worked at the trust for 34 years and is head of nursing for medicine, said: “It’s phenomenal for staff and I’m overwhelmed with the result. The care that they deliver means everything to them. So to get rated as outstanding for care is brilliant.”

New management turns around trust’s fortunes


INSPECTORS and staff have heaped praise on the trust’s new management.

In 2017, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Gillian Fairfield and chairman Antony Kildare were replaced by their counterparts at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.

The move came after a damning 2016 report which found the trust was “inadequate”.

At the time the report found patients were being treated in hospital corridors, there were four incidents where surgeons operated on the wrong part of a patient’s body, and staff from black and ethnic minority background said bullying, harassment and discrimination were rife.

Along with this, the hospital was found to be spiralling into debt.

Because of the findings, the trust was placed into financial special measures and quality special measures. The new hospital boss, Marianne Griffiths, took over in Apri1 2017 to help the trust regain control of its finances and improve care.

She came from neighbouring trust, Western Sussex, which was rated as “outstanding”.

Following a year of hard work, it was announced in July that the financial special measures had been lifted.

It has now been recommended that the hospital also come out of quality special measures following the positive inspection.

Ms Griffiths was made a Dame in the New Year’s Honours for her outstanding work.

Chief inspector of hospitals Professor Edward Baker said: “Two years ago, we rated the trust as inadequate overall because of concerns relating to patient safety, the organisational culture and governance throughout the trust.

“Since that time we have been keeping a close watch, with support from local stakeholders.

“I have no doubt that the additional support from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has helped the trust to address the shortcomings that had been identified. Much of the credit must go to the new leadership team at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and to the commitment and hard work of the staff.”

Inspectors visiting the hospital in September were told by staff that they had seen a dramatic change in the past six to nine months.

The report said: “They described this change as powerful, positive and felt included in the strategy and overall change.

“In the past staff said they had not always felt supported but the new executive team gave them the confidence to raise concerns and they felt assured that their concerns would be listened to and acted on appropriately.”

In the 2016 report, the CQC found all areas were either inadequate or required improvement.

The new report, released today, found:

Overall rating for this trust Good

Are services safe? Good

Are services effective? Good

Are services caring? Outstanding

Are services responsive? Requires improvement

Are services well-led? Good

Senior NHS leaders have also praised the management and frontline staff who have helped transform the quality of care to patients.

Dr Kathy Mclean, medical director of NHS Improvement, which decides whether special measures can be lifted, said: “I am delighted to see improvement on this scale and my congratulations go to every member of staff at the trust.

“Everyone at the trust has shown an unwavering commitment to improving care for their patients.

“Today’s decision and the rating by CQC are evidence of what is possible through shared leadership and learning from others’ success across the NHS.

“High quality care and financial grip go hand in hand and the trust must now ensure all these recent improvements are maintained and that patients continue to benefit.”

Anne Eden, South East regional director of NHS Improvement, said: “Patients must be at the heart of everything we do. The trust has shown that they are their priority and have embraced the opportunity to learn from excellence from elsewhere in the region.

“The well-deserved recognition of joint chief executive Marianne Griffiths in the New Year’s Honours is testament to this. Even against a backdrop of such significant improvement, there will always be more we can do. I will now be asking Marianne and her team to build on this success.”

Efforts recognised


FRONTLINE staff at the hospital are providing “exceptional care” according to the latest report.

The CQC inspectors were particularly impressed by their high levels of engagement and motivation.

Inspectors, who rated caring at the trust as “outstanding”, said: “We saw a significant number of plaudits from patients, relatives and loved ones describing how exceptional the care provided by trust staff has been both for the physical wellbeing of the patient and the emotional wellbeing of the loved one.”

It added that staff treated patients with compassion and with kindness and patients told inspectors that the care they received exceeded their expectations.

Kirtsy Chow has been in the trust for 15 years and is currently working in resuscitation.

She said: “This is the result of all the hard work from all the people we work with. It’s not surprising but to have it down in writing is nice.”

Hospital boss Dame Marianne Griffiths said: “I know how hard all our staff have worked to achieve the improvements we all want to see and I am delighted that the results of those efforts have been recognised.

“The inspectors went away with a clear understanding that care is our top priority and that we have a brilliant workforce committed to doing everything they can for the patients they care for.

“The results here today are a team result.”

In a previous CQC report in 2016, the trust was told that care in the hospitals required improvement.

The inspectors said they were particularly impressed by the way in which front-line staff were empowered to make this change themselves.

The report found that staff felt respected, supported and valued.

The management told the inspectors that improving the experience and engagement of their staff was fundamental to delivering a high level of care.