Bexhill and Battle MP visits Conquest Hospital

Huw Merriman with Alice Webster, director of nursing SUS-151014-124027001
Huw Merriman with Alice Webster, director of nursing SUS-151014-124027001

An MP has promised to support a hospital trust on its journey out of special measures – following a visit to Conquest Hospital.

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, visited Conquest Hospital in Hastings and the Eye Unit at Bexhill Hospital to meet the staff and ‘assess their morale’.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust has recently been placed in special measures, following an ‘inadequate’ CQC report.

The trust, which also runs the Eastbourne District General, has apologised for ‘letting down’ patients but has promisd to improve and make ‘a new start’.

Mr Merriman said: “As the new MP for Bexhill and Battle, I wanted to visit the local hospitals to meet the staff and assure them of my support as the East Sussex Healthcare Trust begins its journey out of special measures.

“I wanted to assess staff morale and see the day to day life at the hospitals for myself to get a better understanding of the services they provide and the pressures the staff are under.”

The MP said he visited diferent hospital wards with clinical and nursing staff – speaking ‘freely’ to everyone who could spare the ime.

He added: “I found that the trust has incredibly hard-working staff whose commitment to patients and their families was clear to see.

“They are rightly proud of the services they provide.

“They know that they are valued and doing a great job because the patient feedback is posted across the hospital wards.

“I am confident that with such dedicated staff, the trust has the solid foundation it needs to ensure that our local hospitals can and will move quickly out of special measures.”

Despite an overall ‘inadequate’ rating, the CQC found care at both hospial was ‘good’.

The CQC report, published on September 22, said: “We saw kind care provided across the trust.”

“Most patients that we spoke with commented positively on their individual care and on the staff providing it.

“Staff we spoke to saw patient care as their main driver for performing well.

“Some said this was difficult within the current culture.”

Speaking at the time, Amber Rudd and Huw Merriman said they were ‘pleased’ staff were recognised for being ‘committed’ and ‘caring’.

The trust has since said bullying and harrassment will be dealt with ‘very seriously’ after staff expressed concerns.

Mr Merriman said he believed the trust was working hard on its improvement plan and was ‘putting in place the structures it needs to provide people with the high quality healthcare they deserve.

He said: “I will be giving the new management team and staff my full support and am looking forward to returning to the Conquest to spend an overnight weekend shift in A&E in the near future.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at 2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @HastingsObs

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Hastings Observer - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.