Improvements to Conquest Hospital’s ‘unwelcoming’ front entrance planned

Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132748001
Conquest Hospital, Hastings. SUS-150615-132748001

Plans to improve Conquest Hospital’s ‘most unwelcoming’ front entrance were discussed last week.

Bosses at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT), which runs the hospitals in both Hastings and Eastbourne, appeared before East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee last Thursday (June 30) to update councillors on their quality improvement plan.

The trust was rated ‘inadequate’ by health regulators the Care Quality Commission last year, and was placed in special measures.

Adrian Bull, chief executive at ESHT, talked about proposals to improve the front entrances to both Conquest Hospital and Eastbourne DGH.

He said: “When you enter Conquest it’s a most unwelcoming front entrance.

“We are going to be completely reshaping the front entrance as well as Eastbourne. Both front entrances are going to be reshaped in order to make them more accessible and a pleasanter place to come and start the journey through the hospital.”

Addressing the wider issues of improving the trust’s performance, Dr Bull thought that the morale of staff was a ‘mixed picture’ and added: “We are not providing perfect care across the board.”

He continued: “In an organisation which has gone through a significantly challenging period and a lot of people have their heads down and feeling sorry for themselves what we must avoid is a self reinforcing cycle of bad news.”

Alan Shuttleworth, a borough and county councillor for Eastbourne, thought that one of the key issues in the CQC’s report was a lack of public engagement by the trust.

He explained that during the last ‘discredited’ regime at ESHT there was a ‘great deal of distrust and loss of confidence’ in the way the trust was managed, particularly over the downgrading of the maternity ward in Eastbourne.

When Dr Bull was asked if consultant-led maternity services could return to Eastbourne he said the trust was not ‘actively considering’ it but he would ‘never say never about anything’.

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