A statement from Chief Nurse of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Tina Hetherington:

Delivering safe, quality care to our patients is our absolute priority and I want to apologise for where we haven’t got it right and the effect this may have on patient confidence in our maternity services. Rest assured that we are taking immediate action to address the issues raised by inspectors to ensure our patients receive the high-quality care they rightly expect. 

"Since the inspection we have put in place a robust improvement plan – including ensuring tougher infection control measures, more frequent cleanliness checks, and more thorough daily safety checks of medicines and specialist emergency care equipment.

"We recognise how the national shortfall across maternity has affected our services and earlier this year we launched a recruitment drive to improve staffing levels. Since the inspection 13 new midwives have started in post, with a further five due to start in the coming weeks.

"We are clear there is more work to do, but our maternity team are passionate about patient care, and while the CQC highlighted many examples of good practice such as timely access to services and quick action on any identified patient risks, this report will help us focus our efforts and engage with our patients through forums such as our maternity voices partnership, on making the immediate and long-term improvements that will deliver for our patients and their families year after year.”

The key actions we will be taking as a Trust in response to this CQC report include:

  • Reviewing our workforce plans in line with patient demand
  • Following a recruitment drive earlier this year - 13 new midwives have started in post with a further five due to start in the coming weeks
  • Improving discharge processes to reduce delays
  • Sharing audit findings and putting plans in place to ensure clear processes for monitoring improvement areas
  • Developing a digital maternity system to improve maternity records and enable effective audits
  • Developing our transitional care provision
  • Reviewing governance processes to ensure clearer oversight of our services

If you are a patient at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and have concerns about your care - please contact our PALS department.