Urgent meeting into inadequate hospitals called

Liz Walke and Jeremy Hunt
Liz Walke and Jeremy Hunt

Campaigners are demanding the committee which scrutinises the local health service calls an urgent meeting over the “inadequate” CQC report for the town’s hospital.

The Save the DGH Campaign said the East Sussex Health Overview Scrutiny Committee (HOSC), “need to act on this report and at the very least order an independent inquiry”.

The CQC rated The East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) and its hospitals as inadequate in its report on March 27, and campaign chairman Liz Walke said a scrutiny meeting should go ahead before the general election.

The chairman of HOSC, Cllr Michael Ensor said, “Over the past couple of weeks I have been seriously considering calling an emergency HOSC meeting in light of the CQC report. I believe it is the right thing to do. I have now decided that we will have one, but it is to be after the general election on May 22. I can’t do it during the election because of purdah, and have taken legal advice on this.”

ESHT, the three local CCGs and the CQC have been invited to the public meeting, and the committee want to see an action plan for the Trust.

“It is very disappointing,” said Mrs Walke. “Nothing can be done until two months down the line.”

However Cllr Ensor said, “It is a serious matter. Something must be done.”

An urgent HOSC meeting will be held on May 22, and a scheduled one will still take place on June 16, reviewing the outcomes of the first meeting.

The Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt also made a visit to Eastbourne on Thursday. On the CQC report he said, “There has been huge concern about the standard of care in the hospital that is exactly why I wanted an independent CQC to give expert views to what the standards of care are. It is a fantastic compliment to staff at the hospital that the report said the care being given is good. It is a damning indictment on the leadership that the report said the hospital is not safe.

“The report says the leadership was inadequate and that has to change. I hope people see this as a turning point in the history of the hospital. It becomes a catalyst to change.”