The health trust running Chichester and Worthing’s hospitals is due to ‘buddy up’ and join forces with its Brighton counterpart.
An agreement has been signed between Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs St Richard’s Hospital and Worthing Hospital, NHS improvement, and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BSUH, which was placed in special measures earlier this year.
This ‘buddying arrangement’ is a step towards a longer term partnership between the two organisations, with the chief executive and chairman of Western Sussex also carrying out the same roles for BSUH from April 2017, which runs Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The challenges faced by staff at BSUH have been well documented and I’m very pleased that NHS Improvement has asked us to help overcome them.
“There are no easy answers but it is the people working in the hospitals in Brighton and Haywards Heath who are best placed to find and implement the solutions their patients need.
“We know the organisation has many great people in it already and the role of the team at Western Sussex will be to give them the tools, skills and support to make improvements.
“This is a great opportunity for all of us and we are looking forward to working together to improve hospital care for the people of Brighton and Sussex.”
To support this transition an Improvement Oversight Group, comprising the leadership of both BSUH and Western Sussex, will be set up to oversee the development of the long-term arrangement and set the pace for delivering sustained improvement across all services.
It will be chaired jointly by the leaders of Western Sussex and the South regional team of NHS Improvement.
BSUH has a history of long-standing and complex issues and was put into special measures for quality by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in August 2016.
As of October 2016 it was placed into financial special measures after it deviated from its planned savings targets.
The buddying arrangement includes supporting the trust to deliver on its requirements under both types of special measures.
Western Sussex Hospitals is rated Outstanding by the CQC for providing high quality care across a range of services. It has a proven track record, which will help it to support Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals to make the right changes and continue to improve care for patients.
Anne Eden, executive regional managing director for the south at NHS Improvement said: “The people of Sussex deserve the best healthcare possible. We already know Brighton and Sussex has started work to address the areas of concern but we want to make sure that it has what it needs to continue to improve its services.
“We want local people not only to see improvements made quickly, but to see improvements that will provide them with quality services for years to come.
Gillian Fairfield, interim Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, added: “Since we had the CQC inspection in April, we have been working incredibly hard to stabilise the Trust and to make the immediate changes and improvements needed. We have developed a comprehensive integrated recovery and improvement plan and have made significant progress in a large number of areas to ensure patients being cared for in our hospitals today are getting a better standard of service.
“It is essential that BSUH keeps up the momentum it has started and this new arrangement with Western Sussex will help ensure this can be achieved both in the short-term and the long-term. I see this as an extremely positive step in BSUH’s journey to be the thriving and excellent organisation that we all want it to be and we look forward to working closely in the coming months with our colleagues at Western Sussex.”
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