Herald Opinion: Eastbourne deserves better

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THE news that health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has once again come down hard on the management of the DGH is as unsurprising as it is unwelcome.

Anyone who read the lengthy report last time round could have guessed that making the necessary improvements would be a very long-term battle for East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

And the fact that the latest report recognised genuine improvements in some areas should be welcomed. Turning the trust round is a one step at a time task. It was never going to be an overnight job.

However, we need to be clear that the sort of improvements being ordered should not have to be necessary. The hospital should already be providing the highest standard of patient care.

The people of this town are forced to put their trust in the men and women who run the DGH on a daily basis. Every time they take their child in with a broken bone, every time they need a baby delivered or are forced to leave an elderly relative behind for surgery. People have every right to expect basic standards of care to be met. The fact that sometimes they are not is indefensible.

The trust this week issued a press release talking up the improvements noted in the new report. No doubt certain people at the DGH will moan that we have focused on the negatives rather than the positives.

We make no excuses for that. The positives the trust was quick to highlight are nothing more than finally achieving the levels of professionalism and care expected of a hospital. That is not something to crow about. It is something which should have already been happening last year before the inspectors first visited the Eastbourne site.

Chief executive Darren Grayson says other improvements have been made since the follow-up visit on which this week’s findings were based. Good. They should be. And more besides.

The Herald will make no apology for continuing to hold the management of the hospital to account. We would not be doing our job if we did not.

But at the same time we also make clear that any criticism is in no way directed at the hundreds of people who work hard every day at the DGH and elsewhere in the local health service.

It is the management which needs to take a long hard look at itself. The nurses, doctors and health care assistants at the DGH deserve our thanks. The town as a whole deserves better.