The head of a hospital trust says the latest CQC inspection is a “fair reflection of where we are” and that it still needs to improve. University Hospitals Sussex chief executive Dr George Findlay gives his response to the inspectors' report:

Whenever any hospital is rated by the CQC, there is – understandably – a focus on the headline rating

In this instance, the overall rating for the Royal Sussex County Hospital here in Brighton has edged up – from inadequate to requires improvement. I would love the rating to be higher but actually I think it is a fair reflection of where we are.

There are signs of progress, and that is welcome, but we must accept that there are many things that we can, and must, make better.

We have to look beyond the headlines and see the detail. How can we make services better for people, and how can we better support our staff? What is working well, where do we need fresh thinking?

Our surgery teams have faced a huge amount of scrutiny recently. For people working incredibly hard, doing amazingly important work, in hugely difficult conditions, that is hard for them to bear.

I’m delighted that the CQC report also improves their specific rating – again, the increase is only to “requires improvement” but it is a welcome recognition that the results of their hard work, skill and dedication are starting to be seen.

We entirely accept the ongoing challenges that the CQC team highlight but I would hate it if the efforts of colleagues to improve care were not acknowledged. We know that further improvements are needed and we have plans in place to do that, so now we must support our surgery teams to continue making progress.

We are funding more staff – including consultants – and are recruiting now. We are seeking more surgical capacity and we have approved a new surgical assessment unit. None of this has an instant impact but it all helps us to build better services for patients. We continue to talk with surgery colleagues about what else we can do.

Elsewhere, there are plenty of “big picture” issues which colleagues can be proud of. In our medicine division inspectors found teams working well together, giving good patient care, treating people with compassion and kindness. That is important, and welcome.

But they also found too many things which were not right – from issues with record-keeping, training, and pressures on overstretched staff.

These are fundamental issues and we have plans in place to get them right, and quickly. And we continue to hear that some colleagues do not feel confident to speak up when they see something that concerns them. That is a huge priority to get right.

We will demand high standards of ourselves in putting right what needs to improve. This report shows us where progress is being made, and where we must do more to better support staff and improve services.

Dr George Findlay is chief executive of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust.