A second Outstanding rating for Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Wednesday 23rd October, 2019

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the services provided by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to be Outstanding overall for a second time.

A team of CQC inspectors visited the trust between 23 and 25 July 2019 to assess the critical care units at both Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital as this had been the lowest rated core service at the previous inspection and the responsive section of outpatients across all three sites because CQC had identified some concerns about the referral to treatment time in some specialities. Inspectors also looked specifically at management and leadership to answer the key question: Is the trust well-led?

The trust had previously been rated Outstanding in April 2016.  At this inspection the trust is now rated Outstanding for being safe, effective caring, responsive and well-led. This makes it the first non-specialist acute trust to be awarded Outstanding in all five domains.

CQC has also published the trust’s Use of Resources (UoR) report, which is based on an assessment undertaken by NHS Improvement. The trust has been rated as Outstanding for using its resources productively. The combined rating for the trust, taking into account CQC’s inspection for the quality of services and NHSI’s assessment of Use of Resources, is Outstanding.

The full report, including ratings, will be available when it is published on CQC’s website.

CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Ted Baker, said:

“Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has taken to heart our original inspection report and built on it – not just in those areas where improvements were required, but in their stronger areas too and doing this while supporting another local NHS trust. They are now the first non-specialist acute trust to be rated as Outstanding in all domains. 

“This determination to develop a culture of continuous improvement has improved services for patients and it is a tremendous achievement. Congratulations to all the staff at the trust.

“Throughout the inspection we found a strong culture of safety across the trust in which all staff were engaged. Staff spoke positively about the patient journey and the striving for continual improvement. The hard work has paid off in making a real difference to the lives of people using the services. Everyone who has played a part in this should be very proud of this outcome.”

The inspectors found the trust managed patient safety incidents very well. Staff recognised incidents and reported them and could discuss the processes involved. Leaders were aware of incidents and could provide details when errors occurred, and the actions taken to prevent mistakes happening again. There was also evidence that where unexpected errors happened were reacted to swiftly and effectively. The trust also showed timely actions were taken to mitigate risk and learning was embedded across the organisation. There were trust wide projects and objectives that focused on safety and local ward and department targets. Both were closely monitored to enable the trust to reach their goals.

The trust worked closely with commissioners, patients and other stakeholders to provide services which looked at local priorities and population needs. This included work with the local mental health trust in improving services for patients with both mental and physical health care needs. The trust provided leadership and was driving improvements system wide through the expansion of their Patient First methodology.

The trust had a senior leadership team in place with the appropriate range of skills, knowledge and experience. At the time of the inspection the executive team were supporting another NHS trust to improve. This has been managed while continuing the improvement of services at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust. Trust staff had more opportunity to take on additional leadership responsibilities. Staff from all departments had increased developmental opportunities. 

How to contact the communications team

You can reach our communication team by:

  • Calling – 01903 707447
  • Emailing –
  • Writing to – Communications Team, NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG, 1 The Causeway, Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN12 6BT