Chief Executive Stakeholder newsletter – November 2023

Hello all,

Over the last few weeks, as well as responding to the CQC report into our maternity services, we have been turning more of our attention to winter planning. As we head into our busiest season and face more pressures on our emergency services, we are looking at what we can do differently to ensure that we are working in the best way possible to maintain patient safety whilst continuing to treat patients waiting on our elective and cancer pathways.

Our services

Making SASH safer this winter

As part of that winter planning, this week we are running a week-long safer winter exercise to gain a deeper understanding of the risks and the current challenges faced by different clinical colleagues. We wanted to do this differently by asking small teams of senior managers and chiefs to conduct visits to other clinical areas to bring fresh eyes and a different perspective to the impact of these risks on patients, and look at how we can most importantly, work better together this winter and find the solutions that will best support us to deliver safe, quality care for our patients.


Earlier this month the CQC published their report into our maternity services, and while the CQC did highlight examples of good practice, there were a number of areas we needed to improve on and overall our maternity services were rated as ‘requiring improvement’. We already have a detailed action plan in place and our recruitment drive to improve staffing levels has been underway since earlier this year. There is of course more work to do, and some improvements as well as rebuilding patient confidence will take time, but delivering safe, quality care to our patients is our absolute priority. As we welcome Rosemary Idiaghe, our new Director of Midwifery, we can now look forward and focus our efforts on the mandate that this report sets out and on the immediate and long-term improvements that we need to make.

New direct emergency care pathway

Two weeks ago we launched a new direct emergency care pathway by opening direct referrals to our same day emergency care unit. This was an important change to service we have been aspiring to do for a long time, working closely with our colleagues at SECAMB. The new system means we are now able to take calls directly from 999 teams, with ambulance crews able to either refer appropriate patients to the unit or bring them directly - avoiding the need to come through our Emergency Department. This ensures patients are seen by the right clinician first time and crews can get to the next emergency call faster, which is great news, and feedback so far has been really positive.

Our partners

Sharing our vision

In November Giles York, Chair of Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, came to see our new Sussex ward in action. It was an important opportunity to showcase to one of our key partners how our new ways of working and the focus on reablement through our on-site therapies team, is helping get more of our patients the support they need to get back home or into the community sooner. It was also a really positive way to look at where we can do more together with SCFT on making the whole patient pathway much smoother.

Provider collaborative

To help us deliver care to patients in the right place at the right time in a way that is sustainable for the future, we are also working with our partners across Sussex on developing a provider collaborative. This will support Trusts’ to make the best use of all available resources for their shared local communities - including reducing service inequality and improving access and overall patient experience.

Trust news 

Financial position

Our financial position remains difficult, as it is across the country, and there has been lots of discussion about this at a national level. While we have been making progress on delivering our savings plan as a trust, we have more to do and it’s crucial that we redouble our efforts as we head into winter and the last quarter of the financial year.

Pastoral Quality Award

This week we also announced some brilliant news about our work supporting international nurses and midwives, which has now achieved us national recognition from NHS England. The award, known as the NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award, is part of NHS England’s International Recruitment Programme and recognises the work of Trusts’ who go above and beyond to offer employment and pastoral support to nurses and midwives from across the globe during recruitment and beyond. Helping new members of staff settle into their new role and get to know their local community is a great achievement for the Trust, so thank you to all our nursing colleagues involved in the international recruitment programme for their hard work in driving this support plan forward.

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 4 December at 3pm. The event will take place both in person in our PGEC lecture theatre at East Surrey Hospital, and virtually via an online stream. As always, the AGM is a chance for us to reflect on our previous financial year – the wins and challenges – and look to our future plans for the coming year. The AGM is open to all, so please do attend if you can. If you would like to attend in person kindly RSVP to as soon as possible. If you are unable to attend in person – you can also submit questions in advance or join virtually – more details on how to access the online stream and the link to the live broadcast are available on our website.

Best wishes,

Angela Stevenson

Chief Executive