An agreement which involves the Chairman, Chief Executive and executive directors of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WSH) taking on the leadership of BSUH for a minimum of three years beginning on 1 April has been formally approved.
As part of the new management arrangements, BSUH is set to benefit from up to £30 million in investment in emergency care facilities as part of new efforts to improve the safety, quality and sustainability of services.
Healthcare regulator NHS Improvement (NHSI) will support the creation of a new emergency floor unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, designed to help reduce A&E waiting times and improve the quality and safety of urgent care services.
Delivering a new A&E improvement plan is one of five key areas on which the new executive team will be focusing, along with moving the trust out of special measures on both quality and finance, progressing the ‘3Ts’ hospital redevelopment project and building an organisational culture that can sustain improvement beyond the initial period of collaboration.
WSH Chief Executive Marianne Griffiths said: “The challenges faced by staff at BSUH have been well documented and there are no easy solutions to them.
“However, I have been hugely impressed by the welcome and openness extended to us by everyone we have met in Brighton and Haywards Heath so far and I have seen enough examples of excellent care to feel that together we can bring about the improvements everyone wants to see.”
The two Trusts remain separate and independent, with their operational management being led by a Managing Director at each organisation. BSUH Chief Accountable Officer Evelyn Barker will move into this new role as the organisation’s Managing Director, providing important continuity of leadership. She added: “Marianne and her team have been very clear that the improvements made by Western Sussex Hospitals over the last few years have been achieved by giving frontline staff the freedom to make the changes they know will make the biggest difference to patient care, and they are committed to creating a similar environment here.”
The WSH Board approved the agreement after a full impact assessment satisfied its members that performance at the trust, which is one of only five acute hospital providers in England to hold the CQC’s highest-possible ‘Outstanding’ rating, would not be compromised.
Marianne Griffiths said: “We’ve known from the outset that helping our neighbour is the right thing to do, but we have spent a lot of time over the last four months making sure it is an achievable thing to do, not just in terms of helping BSUH improve but doing so while continuing to build on the progress we have made at Western Sussex too.
“To be certain we can do that, we will be strengthening the leadership team within the trust and prioritising the three things we think will have the greatest influence on the future of our services – monitoring and maintaining our CQC standards, expanding our Patient First improvement programme and supporting the development of the Coastal West Sussex Accountable Care Organisation (ACO).”