A HOSPITAL trust was rated well below the national average in several key areas in a report.

Brighton and Hove Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust received a “disappointing set of results” following an investigation supported by independent watchdog Healthwatch Brighton and Hove based on patient feedback.

It was significantly below the standards set by other trusts in areas including privacy, dignity and wellbeing (66 per cent compared to a national average of 84 per cent), dementia (63 per cent compared to 79 per cent) and disability (73 per cent compared to 84 per cent) in the recently released Patient Led Audits of the Care Environment. (PLACE) review.

The report also rated hospital trusts on cleanliness, food and hydration and condition, appearance and maintenance.

BSUH scored below the national average in these areas as well, and the report also noted the trust had deteriorated in all areas since 2017.

A Healthwatch spokesman said: “The overall scores achieved by the BSUH Trust in 2018 were lower than those achieved in 2017.

“They were also lower than the national averages across all six standards, although sometimes the difference was marginal. However, individual site scores varied considerably with some posting significant increases.”

BSUH is responsible for several sites in Sussex. These are the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital, all in Brighton, as well as the Newhaven Polyclinic and the Sussex Orthopaedic Centre and The Princess Royal, both in Haywards Heath.

George Findlay, chief medical officer and deputy chief executive for BSUH said: “As an NHS Trust we put patients first in everything we do. We have been making real and effective improvements to the environment for our patients across all our wards and departments.

“The PLACE scores from 2018 were disappointing but since then a lot has changed on our sites and this is reflected in the 2019 environmental audits carried out by Brighton and Hove Healthwatch.

“As noted in their most recent report we have carried out 160 of the 210 recommendations they made in the last year. All of the wards and departments reviewed at the Royal Sussex County Hospital received positive overall comments.

“These included observations of ‘a clean, caring ward which supports the needs of dementia patients’ about our respiratory wards and ‘significant improvements in all wards following our audit in July 2018’ about our elderly care facilities.”

Claire Williams, interim chief nurse at BSUH, said: “The findings of the 2018 PLACE audit were disappointing and the Trust is taking action to address the recommendations in this report.

“Whilst acknowledging that some of the environmental concerns, particularly around privacy and dignity - such as not having a

private room to have conversations with patients and families - cannot be fully addressed until the new hospital building is complete on the RSCH site in April 2021.

“Since the 2018 PLACE visits in spring 2018, some considerable improvements have been made and the CQC in September 2018 noted ‘staff keep themselves, equipment and

the premises clean’ and that there was a ‘strong, visible person-centred culture’.

“They also noted that there is no dementia strategy and this will now be published in summer 2019.

“Some investment has already happened to improve the dementia environment.”