Agenda item - Care Quality Commission Inspection Report: University Hospitals Sussex (May 2023)

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Agenda item

Care Quality Commission Inspection Report: University Hospitals Sussex (May 2023)

Report of the Executive Director, Governance, People & Resources (copy attached).



6.1       This item was presented by Dr George Findlay, Chief Executive Officer, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSx). Dr Findlay told the committee that UHSx had recently been inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC published a summary inspection report in May 2023. The report was mixed, with UHSx services rated outstanding in the ‘caring’ and ‘effective’ domains, but with real concerns across other domains.


6.2       Dr Findlay presented ratings for all the Trust’s sites. The Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) is an outlier in terms of performance. In part this may reflect the fact that the RSCH has been subject to several recent inspections: the more a hospital is inspected the more faults tend to be found. However, the Trust takes the CQC’s findings very seriously and is committed to action. The CQC found particular problems in terms of leadership visibility, support for staff speaking up, and culture at the RSCH. Of particular concern was the fact that a number of staff members had reported concerns direct to the CQC rather than feeling able to use UHSx internal procedures.


6.3       It is important to recognise that the CQC found good as well as bad practice, and that they believe that the right executive team and operating model are in place. There were no surprises in the CQC report: Dr Findlay had commissioned external due diligence when he re-joined the Trust as Chief Executive, and this audit had identified similar problems. It should also be recognised that the inspection was some months ago and at a particularly difficult time for the delivery of healthcare. Subsequent to this, the Trust has seen much improved staff engagement scores.


6.4       The CQC had recommended that the Trust go into what would effectively be special measures. However, this has not been supported by organisations in the local health and care system.


6.5       In response to member questions, Dr Findlay told the committee:


·         Surgery at the Trust had seen real improvements in recent months. Clinical outcomes have always been good.


·         UHSx takes staff reports of experiencing racism very seriously. The Trust’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion team has been refreshed, and there is a focus on promoting diversity through recruitment and promotion.


·         UHSx has outsourced its speak-up guardian service and is also investing in a major leadership programme.


·         The Trust would be happy to come back to the HOSC to provide further updates about its improvement planning.


·         There is an active police investigation into whistleblowing allegations and it is not possible to discuss these in public at the current time.


6.6       RESOLVED – that the report be noted.



Supporting documents:


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