Bosses promise overhaul after critical report

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MANAGERS at the Conquest have promised an overhaul of hospital culture following a damning report into standards of care.

Although work has been completed on the A&E ward this week to create eight new cubicles, and a recruitment drive is underway, bosses said it would take time to change ways of behaviour.

Last week the Observer highlighted the report by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which slammed patient care across the board.

During their visit in February they discovered that not all junior doctors had been properly trained and care and treatment decisions in A&E were imposed on patients, rather than explained and consent sought.

One frail elderly patient in A&E who had a fractured hip, was left on a trolley for more than seven hours, and another put in a ward with nothing to eat all day and although a drink had been left, it was out of reach.

The report also revealed “significant shortages of staffing” across the hospital.

At a trust board meeting on Wednesday, Darren Grayson, chief executive, said: “This incident didn’t arise overnight and it will not be resolved overnight. While we can make short-term actions, changes in behaviour are a long-term process.”

Margaret Williams, chairman of Hands off the Conquest, said: “There are attitudes that have to be changed across all levels. People feel they are not being listened to and there is a lack of communication between management and staff. Morale is still very low.”

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both the Conquest and Eastbourne’s DGH, has recently taken on 27 newly qualified nurses, of which 11 start at the Conquest.

Jane Hentley, the trust’s chief nurse, said documenting patients’ treatment was one of the glaring gaps in the hospitals’ performance.

Board members said they did not want improvements to serve the sole purpose of box-ticking for future inspections.

But Dr David Hughes, medical director, assured them the exercise would improve patient care with doctors having a more complete treatment history to hand.