Worthing, Southlands and St Richard’s hospitals praised by inspectors

QUALITY of care in Worthing, Southlands and St Richard’s hospitals has been praised by independent regulators after unannounced visits.

Councillors sitting on West Sussex County Council’s health and overview scrutiny committee heard all three hospitals had been inspected and all reports had been positive.

Improvements in quality of care over the last 18 months were also noted.

The information was given after Frank Wilkinson, councillor for Storrington, expressed concerns over “awful publicity” in national newspapers about poor standards of hospital care for the elderly in other parts of the country.

“We want to know what measures you are putting in place so the elderly are treated with respect and love when they go into hospital,” he said.

Trust chief executive Marianne Griffiths said they all knew having the right ratio of nurses to beds was significantly important in terms of basic dignity and care.

At Southlands Hospital, there had been an unannounced inspection by regulators, to test nursing standards.

Not only were there no breaches of care standards, but there had been “strong commendations”.

She told the HOSC: “We will be relentless in pursuing quality, but we have made great steps.”

Ms Griffiths said there were regular “patient safety walkabouts” at the hospitals, involving herself and other staff.

The best feedback was obtained by talking to patients or their carers.

Trust medical director Dr Philip Barnes told the meeting in the last 18 months it had recruited 225 additional nurses.

This was partly to replace agency nurses, but it represented £1.7m new investment in nursing staff.