Published: 11/07/2002, Volume II2, No.5813 Page 8 9

The Commission for Health Improvement has voiced 'serious concerns' over the organisation of emergency care at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare trust.

The review of the trust - which currently has one star - was fasttracked by CHI following the death of a head-injury patient who attended accident and emergency at the end of 2000. CHI said:

'People with very urgent needs, like chest pains, are seen quickly, but many patients have long waits, often in unsuitable conditions, before moving to wards. Though staff do their best to respond to patients'needs, they are concerned patients' dignity and privacy can suffer in these conditions.'

Though the trust has worked to address these concerns, CHI said there were still poor relationships between A&E and admitting specialties. The supervision of junior doctors is 'still an issue'.

Former chief executive Isobel Gowan resigned in April 2000.

The year before, the trust removed 1,800 patients from official waiting-list figures to meet government targets.

The CHI report said: 'Staff and local organisations feel the trust's new management team are grasping the problems... and are [making] progress addressing them.

CHI found the trust had strengthened systems across many areas.'

An action plan is being produced by the trust, which will work with the Modernisation Agency.

www. chi. nhs. uk