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CQC issues further warning to East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust following latest inspection

15 February 2012
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
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15 February 2012

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has formally warned East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust that it must do more to improve the way it monitors and assesses the standards of treatment and care that patients receive.

The warning follows a series of inspections at the trust, in February, April and September 2011, which have highlighted a number of failings which are putting patients at risk of harm.

The inspection in September, following up on previous outstanding concerns at the trust, found that, while improvements had been made in some areas a range of concerns still remained.

These concerns included issues regarding consent to care and treatment, care and welfare of people, safeguarding people who use services, staffing, and the trust’s ability to effectively assess and monitor the quality of the services it is providing.

The trust has until 31 March to comply with the regulation relating to assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

The report from the September inspection has recently been published on the CQC website. Inspectors found during that inspection:

There was a lack of evidence that patients with reduced mental capacity had access to advocacy, or that best interest meetings had taken place with regard to decisions on their behalf such as Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) decisions.

  • Systems and processes for monitoring the quality and safety of services were not robust. The trust risk register did not reflect the level of current risk to patients.
  • Although there have been improvements in staffing, recruitment of middle grade doctors and consultants remained an issue with a high dependency on locum doctors to supplement core medical staffing.
  • Reporting arrangements to the Board were not robust enough to provide full reassurance that patients were being protected.
  • Care plans were incomplete in a number of areas of care.
  • Ian Biggs, Deputy Director of CQC in the South, said:

    “People using services at the trust should continue to do so. We would take immediate action to protect people if we felt that there was a serious immediate risk of harm. Nevertheless, the trust needs to take this warning very seriously indeed.

    “The essential standards exist to protect vulnerable people – who cannot always speak up for themselves – from being put at risk. NHS trusts have a duty to make sure that the care they deliver meets the government’s essential standards in order to deliver safe and good quality care to patients.

    “CQC has a range of legal powers it can use to protect the people who use services run by the trust if it finds required progress has not been made. This warning sends a clear message that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust needs to address these issues or face serious consequences.”


    For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9239 or out of hours on 07917 232143.

    Notes to editors

    CQC has published further details of the inspectors’ findings in a review of compliance on its website.

    The warning notice finds that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is in breach of:

    • Regulation 10 (1)(a)(b), (2)(b)(i), (iii), (iv), (v), (vi), (2)(c)(i), (2)(d)(i)(ii), (2)(e) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010 (Outcome 16) Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision

    CQC has issued a warning notice which requires the provider to take action to meet the regulatory requirements by 31 March 2012. If this is not achieved, CQC has a range of enforcement powers which include restricting the services that a provider can offer, or, in the most serious cases, suspending or cancelling a service. CQC can also issue financial penalty notices and cautions or prosecute the provider for failing to meet essential standards. Any regulatory decision that CQC takes is open to challenge by a registered person through a variety of internal and external appeal processes.