DGH hospital boss under pressure

AN under-fire hospital boss believes his trust can raise standards to meet targets set by a health watchdog despite a report this week confirmed Eastbourne District General Hospital is still failing in a host of areas.

The Quality Care Commission (CQC) heavily criticised East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust earlier this year when inspectors found a host of problems across the DGH and its sister site at the Conquest in Hastings.

Its original report noted patients going thirsty after water was left out of reach, staff lacking appropriate training and a pensioner being left on a trolley for seven hours despite nursing a painful broken hip.

Staff were said to be making fundamental mistakes and the trust was given until September 2 to improve – or possibly face being forced to close certain services.

The trust apologised to patients and promised to improve, but a follow-up report released on Wednesday showed the hospital is still some way off hitting its targets.

The latest report did note several improvements, including healthier staffing levels and better personal care being offered to patients, but it still highlighted a host of inconsistencies - with the levels of treatment and record taking differing from ward to ward.

And, most damning of all, this week’s report concluded, “Eastbourne District General Hospital (DGH) was not meeting one or more essential standards. We are taking further action to protect the safety and welfare of people who use services.”

The trust now has just two weeks to send a detailed report back to the CQC to outline exactly how it plans to improve standards before the September 2 deadline.

Earlier this week the trust’s board met at the DGH to discuss the CQC report – with members talking about how best to comply with the report.

However, taking a more pragmatic approach, the trust’s chief executive Darren Grayson said that compliance was essentially ‘the day job’ and that staff should not be looking at it as anything they should not have been doing already.

He said, “What this is really about is providing good quality care for patients.

“If we are providing good quality care that the CQC will recognise that.”

He told fellow members the focus should be less on compliance with the report and more about giving the patients ‘the standards they deserve’.

And, following the meeting, he told the Herald the temptation was to ‘look upwards’ at those criticising rather than downwards at the people actually receiving the care.

He said, “We still have some way to go but we have done a hell of a lot of work. There is more to do and we have continued to make improvements since this visit.

“We are committed to get every aspect of care right for all our patients all of the time. I am confident the actions we are taking will address the concerns raised by the CQC.”