Lack of bed space leads to fine for trust

A lack of bed space which saw men and women sharing bays on wards at the DGH has resulted in an £11,000 fine.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHNT) was fined by the Clinical Commissioning Group after reporting 44 breaches during August. There were nine breaches at the Eastbourne hospital and 35 at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.

Hospital rules state different sexes must be segregated or they will be fined £250 for each day there is a breach. The money will be reinvested in the NHS.

Hospitals are expected to provide separate sleeping, bathroom and toilet facilities for men and women. Wards do not need to be single sexed but patients have to be kept in bays divided by a partition.

A spokesperson for ESHNT said, “The majority of the trust’s breaches during August were caused by pressure on beds within the A&E department at Conquest Hospital.

“Building work to change the space available in the department will shortly be underway and by the start of winter, we will have new space available to reduce any further breaches. Nine of the breaches occurred at Eastbourne DGH due to pressure on beds in two orthopaedic wards.”

Earlier this year it was revealed the trust had a funding deficit of £19.4 million.

Last month the Herald reported that the trust’s planned deficit already had a £5.1million shortfall. The article said since the financial year started in April its deficit was now £13.7million against a planned £8.6million, resulting in a shortfall of £5.1million.

The trust is reviewing its use of bank and agency staff after the shortfall emerged.

The chief’s executive of ESNHT, Darren Grayson, said £2.6milion of the £5.1million had gone on penalties and fines but that the situation was recoverable.