A HEALTH chief has spoken of her pride after an NHS trust received a glowing report from inspectors.

The Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was rated “outstanding” in all key inspection areas, despite a surge in the number of patients it deals with each day.

The areas are “safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led” and the rating makes the group the first non-specialist acute trust in the country to achieve a top rating in each area.

An acute trust provides secondary health services within the National Health Service.

In 2015 the trust received an “outstanding” report but was told it “requires improvement” in its responsiveness.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report said then the “flow of patients through critical care and the waiting times for treatment in surgery and outpatients all require improvement”.

But, four years on, the report found this had significantly improved.

The trust’s chief executive, Dame Marianne Griffiths, said: “Our staff and volunteers are phenomenal and I am absolutely thrilled the CQC has recognised this by establishing Western Sussex Hospitals as the first non-specialist acute hospital trust to receive a clean sweep of ‘outstanding’ awards.

“For staff to surpass the ‘outstanding’ results we achieved from our last inspection four years ago is remarkable in its own right – but to do so in the context of us now seeing 55 more people in A&E every day, 4,200 more people in outpatients every month, and 5,000 more inpatients each year, is frankly heroic.

"Every time I say I could not be more proud of our people, they go and do it again. Western Sussex Hospitals is a truly special place to work and I have the best job in the world.”

The report states that staff are “engaged and proud to work for the trust”.

The CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals Dr Nigel Acheson said: “Throughout the inspection we found a strong culture of safety across the trust in which all staff were engaged.

“Staff spoke positively about the patient journey and the striving for continual improvement.

“The hard work has paid off in making a real difference to the lives of people using the services.

“Everyone who has played a part in this should be very proud of this outcome.”

Dame Marianne said: “I am especially proud of Western Sussex Hospitals becoming the first acute trust rated outstanding for safety, because this tells our patients and their loved ones we are getting things right, that we’re learning when we don’t, and that they can depend on the people caring for them when they need us most.”