Press Release: Local Watchdogs visited Royal Sussex County Hospital

Media Contact: Magda Pasiut:

On the 19th January 2015 Healthwatch Brighton and Hove and Healthwatch East Sussex carried out visits to older people’s wards and the Acute Medical Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital to observe the quality of care older patients receive.

The care given to patients on the day we visited was good and attention was given to people at mealtimes, an area of concern in the past. There were examples of best practice, particularly on the specialist dementia ward.Single Sex Accommodation

However on general wards, the same attention to communicating effectively with people with dementia was not standard practice, despite a Dementia Champion in the hospital.

There were also a large number of people waiting to be discharged on the wards. It was estimated that 36% of them could have gone home if services were in place.

In addition, staffing levels are a constant challenge at the hospital. Hospital employees reported that were times when they felt the wards were understaffed, and they were drawn to other busy areas.

We also found that the Acute Medical Unit remains the area with the most problems. It has 36 beds, often with people whose average age is 85, who have high levels of need and there is a quick turnover. A number of concerns have been raised about patients’ care which is being addressed by the hospital.

Frances McCabe, Chair of Healthwatch Brighton and Hove added

“Healthwatch Brighton and Hove and East Sussex will continue our vigilance. We also plan more visits to monitor the care of older people at the hospital . If you have concerns or experiences you want to share, please contact your local Healthwatch. We are here to listen.”

A copy of the full report together with a response from Matthew Kershaw, Chief Executive at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, is available via the website:  or by contacting Healthwatch Brighton and Hove on 01273 23 40 41, or Healthwatch East Sussex on 01323 723944.


Notes to Editors:

About Healthwatch Brighton & Hove Community Interest Company (CIC)

  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove CIC has legal rights to enter and view publicly funded health and adult social care settings and to be responded to within 20 days by the provider of health and adult social care services.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove CIC is one of 152 Local Healthwatch organisations that feed into the national body Healthwatch England, set up in October 2012.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove CIC has transitioned from Brighton and Hove Local Involvement Network (LINk).
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove is funded by the Department of Health and commissioned through Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC), but is independent of the NHS and BHCC.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove is a Community Interest Company – its work centres around being beneficial to the communities of Brighton and Hove. It works with those who plan and run health and social care services asking questions about the way services are provided and suggesting improvements.
  • For further information about Healthwatch Brighton and Hove, please contact Magda Pasiut, Engagement and Communications Co-ordinator on or visit

About Enter and View visits

  • Carrying out Enter and View visits is a part of the local Healthwatch programme. Local Healthwatch representatives carry out these visits to health and social care services to find out how they are being run and make recommendations where there are areas for improvement. The Health and Social Care Act allows local Healthwatch authorised representatives to observe service delivery and talk to service users, their families and carers on premises such as hospitals, residential homes, GP practices, dental surgeries, optometrists and pharmacies.
  • Healthwatch Brighton and Hove CIC has committed to conducting six Enter and View Visits between October 2014 – March 2015, themed around occupation and social activity. The theme was chosen using evidence provided by Healthwatch’s predecessor, Brighton and Hove LINk. Healthwatch will visit a mixture of social care services including day centres and care homes. The locations have been chosen on the basis of their geographical location, the services they provide, and local intelligence from Brighton and Hove City Council and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group.
  • Visits are conducted by trained and DBS checked Enter and View Volunteer Representatives.

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