The NHS trust which runs many of the services at Crawley Hospital has been rated ‘good’ by health inspectors.
A team from the Care Quality Commission, which regulates health and social care in England, spent four days examining the Sussex Community NHS Trust in December, assessing the quality and safety of its care.
While the trust was rated ‘good’ overall, it was told its community health inpatients service ‘required improvement’ in areas such as medicines’ management, training in the care of people with dementia, record keeping and care planning.
On the other side of the coin, its end of life care was rated ‘outstanding’.
The CQC noted recruitment and retention of staff was an issue for the trust, notably among health visitors.
Although there had been an increase in numbers recently, there were still not sufficient staff to meet the level of demand.
There was praise for the passion and commitment of staff who, the report said, worked hard to ensure patient outcomes did not suffer despite being understaffed.
Ellen Armistead, deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Sussex Community NHS Trust provides good and some outstanding services to a large population. We found a committed and caring workforce that was meeting the needs of all those people safely and effectively.”
The report was greeted with delight by staff and was praised as “one of the best inspections that we have seen in NHS trusts in the south” by Julie Blumgart, clinical quality director at the NHS Trust Development Authority.
Trust chair Sue Sjuve said: “We feel immense pride, gratitude and excitement to achieve this overall rating of ‘good’. We’ve always said we see the CQC’s assessment as a milestone on our journey of continuous improvement, and we’ve already heard from teams who are determined to proceed to an overall ranking of ‘outstanding’.”
“We’re confident we can get there if we live by our values, learn and improve based on what the CQC has told us.”