Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) has been named the Acute or Specialist NHS Trust of the Year in the annual Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards.

The judges said the Trust, which runs East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, “had a clear ambition and vision, with a compelling and authentic story of a significant improvement journey over a number of years. The staff were fully engaged, and it was refreshing to see frontline staff presenting on the day instead of the executive team which added to the authenticity. Staff welfare and inclusivity were high on the agenda and there was shared improved learning at a national level.”

The comprehensive assessment process involved a first round of remote judging – overseen by a panel of dedicated industry professionals – followed by a live presentation. Having successfully completed both of these highly competitive stages, SASH went on to be awarded the distinguished accolade, standing out amongst a very impressive shortlist.


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Michael Wilson CBE, SASH chief executive, who retires from the NHS next week, said: “This award is testament to the skill, passion and dedication of all of our staff. They work incredibly hard to provide outstanding care for patients and I am immensely proud of how they continue to support each other in such challenging times. We are honoured to receive this award in a category with so many amazing nominations.”


HSJ Editor Alastair McLellan adds; “I’d like to offer my congratulations to SASH on winning the Acute or Specialist Trust of the Year at this year’s HSJ Awards. It is always so inspirational to see projects adapting, developing and improving their services for the benefit of patients across the country. We believe SASH really holds the value of the HSJ Awards – in terms of sharing best practice, improving patient outcomes, and demonstrating innovation – at the centre of what they do.”

SASH was rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2019 and has since sought to further embed a culture of engagement, involvement and inclusion across the organisation.

In the last annual NHS staff survey, SASH scored highest nationally for staff stating they look forward to coming to work and the Trust’s scores improved from the previous year in around 65% of the individual questions asked.

Photo taken pre-COVID in 2019

As part of its efforts to continue to create an inclusive and supportive culture in the organisation, SASH has embarked on a reverse mentoring programme where colleagues from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds from across the organisation mentor members of the senior leadership team. The Trust also trained a team of staff from a range of roles who can provide colleagues with peer-to-peer support following challenging incidents.