England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended that East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust should be placed into special measures.
The recommendation was made in a second report on the quality of care provided by the trust.
The Care Quality Commission had previously inspected the trust in September 2014, when Conquest Hospital at Hastings and Eastbourne District General Hospital were both rated Inadequate.
A team of CQC inspectors followed this up with a further unannounced inspection in March 2015 to check on progress which had been to address the main areas of concern, focussing on maternity services, outpatient and diagnostic imaging services, surgery and accident and emergency care.
In a report which is published today, the trust has again been rated as Inadequate overall.
Although all services were rated Good for caring, the trust has also been rated Inadequate in safety and leadership.
During the inspection in March, CQC found that there was a widespread disconnect between the trust board and staff. Although the board recognised that staff engagement was an area of concern, there was no effective strategy to improve.
Inspectors found that staff remained afraid to speak up or share concerns in case of repercussions.
Low staffing levels were affecting the trust’s ability to deliver efficient care.
Patients were not always being seen for follow up appointments within the timescales requested by their clinician and at times clinics were cancelled at short notice. Patients were not always being informed until they arrived for their appointment.
The Care Quality Commission presented its findings to a local quality summit on Friday. The summit was held to develop a plan of action and recommendations based on the inspection team's findings.
This report by Tom Savvides includes interviews with Dr David Hughes from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and interviews with patients Dudley Davies and Patricia Cockell.
Stacey Poole talks to Professor Edward Baker from the Care Quality Commission.