thumbnailBy Andrew Everest

The mental health trust that services Hastings and Rother, has been assessed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as ‘requiring improvement’ as of September 2016, as it prepares to welcome a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The trust now has 39 departments now rated as ‘good’ moving up from 32 at its last comprehensive inspection in January 2015.

The full CQC report can be accessed at: http://bit. ly/2jqS0Hg

Retiring Chief Executive Officer Colm Donaghy, said: “I want to thank staff for everything they have done to use the CQC’s feedback from their last inspection to help us continue improving services for patients. This is, after all, the whole point of this process. The CQC have told us we’re making good progress and are heading in the right direction. I think we’re really close to being rated ‘good’ and I hope this is the view the CQC reach when they come back to inspect us again.”

The assessment comes as the trust welcomes a new CEO in March 2017. Sam Allen has been appointed CEO of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust from 1 April 2017, when Colm Donaghy retires on 31 March 2017. He in turn succeeded Lisa Rodrigues in 2014 who oversaw the trust and its predecessor organisations for a total 13 years.

Ms Allen, acknowledging challenges ahead, said of her new appointment “I’m really excited by this opportunity. In particular,I want to build on Colm Donaghy’s leadership as CEO in embedding our values in everything we do at Sussex Partnership.

I firmly believe we need to work together in partnership across the health and care system to meet the needs of our communities. That means working with people who have lived experience of using mental health services, carers, clinical and support staff, as well as other organisations responsible for health and social care.

We have a huge task ahead of us to meet the demands our services face, especially when the pressure on resources is tighter than ever before. But this gives us the opportunity to think boldly and creatively about how we work and what we can do differently to improve patient, carer and staff experience.”

Ms Allen takes the helm after what has been a difficult time for the trust. The Trust participated in a thematic homicide review with NHS England into the the care and treatment provided by the Trust to ten service users who became involved in serious incidents which made criticisms and identified areas to be addressed regarding incidents occurring between 2007 and 2015, published at:

The Trust also drew national media attention recently when it gave evidence at the Coroner’s inquest into the death of Sally Brampton, St Leonards resident, founding and pioneering editor of the British edition of Elle magazine, former newspaper columnist, and noted writer on depression. Assistant coroner James Healy-Pratt concluded that Ms Brampton took her own life, however in his concluding remarks stated that there had been “missed opportunities” in trying to help Ms Brampton, arising in the period that the case was notified to local health professionals and the Trust. Due to Ms Brampton’s prominent profile in the media the inquest attracted much coverage and comment.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides mental health, learning disability and substance misuse services to the people of Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent, and as regards HIP’s catchment area services the following needs, with substantially higher call on their support for some services than other areas in East Sussex,  based on a recent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) assessment at:


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