Brighton and Sussex hospital trust finances 'under control'

Royal Sussex County Hospital Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Chief executive Marianne Griffiths said "high quality patient care and strong financial management go hand in hand"

An NHS trust criticised over the death of a patient who apparently drank cleaning fluid has been taken out of financial special measures.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust remains in special measures for its standards of care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) previously told it to take steps to protect patients after Joan Blaber's death.

The trust's chief executive said it now "has control" of its finances.

NHS Improvement (NHSI) praised the trust for reducing its deficit by £13m since the start of the 2017 financial year and removed it from financial special measures.

The trust runs the Royal Sussex hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath.

Marianne Griffiths, chief executive, said: "We now have control over our finances and we have achieved this without taking our eye off the goal of delivering excellent patient care.

"We still have a distance to go in achieving a balanced budget."

The trust expects to have a deficit of £55m for the 2018/19 financial year.

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Joan Blaber, 85, died on a medical ward at the hospital in September last year

Patient Ms Blaber, 85, is believed to have died after she thought she was drinking orange juice at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in September last year.

The CQC visited the hospital the following month and concluded the trust should remain in special measures for quality of care.

After it was taken out of financial special measures, Ms Griffiths said: "High quality patient care and strong financial management go hand in hand, and I have no doubt that we will continue to improve on both aspects of life at the trust."

An inquest for Ms Blaber will take place later this year.

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