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Sussex hospital bosses ask experts how to cut waiting times
Hospital bosses have called in experts from the Department of Health after waiting times for patients in accident and emergency departments spiralled.
The Emergency Care Intensive Support Team (IST) visited the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath to offer advice on how to improve the flow of patients.
It is the first time Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has called in the team for help.
The trust says it is dealing with more patients than ever before, which means it is a struggle to provide enough beds for people needing to be admitted to hospital.
This has meant long waits in A&E of more than 12 hours for 25 patients during the past five months, while a further 1,328 waited between four and 12 hours for a bed to become available.
The most recent figures available showed in the week ending February 10, 87 patients were left waiting between four and 12 hours.
The hospital aims to have provided patients with a bed within four hours.
In a message to staff, trust interim chief executive Chris Adcock said: “For some time we have been struggling to maintain flow through the hospital and discharge enough patients back to the community.
“At times like this it is important to explore all options to improve things and get an independent, expert assessment of the situation.
“We all want to provide a quality of care and experience for our patients of which we can be proud and we cannot carry on as we are, fire-fighting our way through most days.”
Working on improvements
The trust has not had a formal response from the IST following its visit, but has been given some suggestions to help it come up with a plan to tackle the problem.
Mr Adcock said part of the problem was that not enough patients were being discharged each day to free up beds for those needing to be admitted.
He said staff were already working hard to improve the situation and all departments and teams in the trust had their part to play.
He said: “I absolutely recognise how hard and flexibly people are working and I want to say thank you for just getting on with the job in the face of such relentless pressure.”
The IST returned to the trust last week and said progress was being made but there was still more to do to get the hospitals back on track.
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