A&E surge caused crisis at Sussex hospitals

The Argus: A&E surge contributed to crisis at Sussex hospitals A&E surge contributed to crisis at Sussex hospitals

A month-on-month increase on people going through A&E is said to have contributed to pressure which led to two Sussex hospitals to declare a ‘major incident’ last week

Non-urgent operations were can- celled and patients turned away as staff at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, and the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath, were told to focus solely on freeing beds until the major incident was lifted on Friday afternoon (February 22).

Ambulance admissions to the hospital were up by 22 per cent on Tuesday, February 19 and on the morning of Wednesday, February 20 the hospital was full with two wards closed to admissions after being infected with norovirus.

Ambulances have also been reported to be queuing outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital, struggling to offload patients in to the emergency department as beds are sparse.

Mick Lister, vice chairman for independent health and social care watchdog LINk, said there are a range of reasons for the extra strain, including a ‘month on month increase’ on people presenting at A&E.

He said: “People go to A&E because it seems to be the easy option.

“They get a result whereas if they go to other out of hours services they don’t always feel they get a satisfactory solution.”

A South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) spokesman said turnaround and handover times at all receiving hospitals are monitored to pick up any pressures in the system.

He added: “This time of year is always particularly busy across the healthcare system, where there can be delays in turnaround time and handover time. SECAmb works hard with NHS colleagues to overcome any issues and we are proud of the dedication and commitment shown by our staff.”

He also said that SECAmb has worked to improve its policy on turnaround and handover times to help tackle delays.

And unions say extremely tight financial climates mean trusts are seeing no increase in their funding but are being asked to deliver more.

Unison’s Ms Fife said: “I have never seen such a time of employers looking at so many ways of trying to save money.”

Ideally, 100 patients would be discharged from the two Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals sites a day.

But in reality over-stretched staff are only managing to send between 60 and 70 people home in a 24-hour period.

A spokesman for the trust said that accident and emergency departments in the south east have witnessed a 4% to 6% increase in admissions year on year for the last five to six years.

He added that between 70% and 80% of people showing up at accident and emergency could have gone to an alternative location.

The hospital also said that the colder weather plus people going to hospital instead of calling an out-of-hours doctor or booking an appointment with a GP were partly to blame for the problems.

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Comments (10)

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8:50am Mon 25 Feb 13

monkeymoo says...

Who would have thought that closing the A&E in other hospitals, would lead to an increase in attendances at RSCH!!!?

How much was the consultant for this idea paid!?
Who would have thought that closing the A&E in other hospitals, would lead to an increase in attendances at RSCH!!!? How much was the consultant for this idea paid!? monkeymoo

8:52am Mon 25 Feb 13

whereisthe...? says...

Funny how ARGUS always feels a strange need to reproduce almost EXACTLY the same story for no reason - could it be that its cos the last one got filled with ANTI TORY comments??


Whats the matter Argus? Are your Tory buddies / paymasters snapping back on your dog leash?
Funny how ARGUS always feels a strange need to reproduce almost EXACTLY the same story for no reason - could it be that its cos the last one got filled with ANTI TORY comments?? Whats the matter Argus? Are your Tory buddies / paymasters snapping back on your dog leash? whereisthe...?

8:52am Mon 25 Feb 13

whereisthe...? says...

Anyone with sense, PLEASE DONT fall for Tory tricks and get sucked into fake 'debates' with them. They fake naivete, ignorance, change the subject, and use divisive topics to avoid responsibility.


Best thing we can do is just tell them EXACTLY how strongly you feel in no uncertain terms. They'll soon begin to get the message that we WILL NOT put up with them, their cuts, or their nasty lot ANY LONGER. But as long as we're all nice and polite, they will stay up to their old tricks.



Spread the word about what they are doing, express your anger/ frustration. The time for 'getting them to see sense' is over. They KNOW what they are doing and don't care.
Anyone with sense, PLEASE DONT fall for Tory tricks and get sucked into fake 'debates' with them. They fake naivete, ignorance, change the subject, and use divisive topics to avoid responsibility. Best thing we can do is just tell them EXACTLY how strongly you feel in no uncertain terms. They'll soon begin to get the message that we WILL NOT put up with them, their cuts, or their nasty lot ANY LONGER. But as long as we're all nice and polite, they will stay up to their old tricks. Spread the word about what they are doing, express your anger/ frustration. The time for 'getting them to see sense' is over. They KNOW what they are doing and don't care. whereisthe...?

9:18am Mon 25 Feb 13

qm says...

Oh stop with the political nonsense! This is an NHS institutional issue that has been developing for a very long time! Non-clinical management!!
In simple terms, the 'manager' of your local supermarket is now the pilot of a plane on which you are going on holiday. Hasn't a clue as to what switch does what and has to keep calling on a 'consultant' because he doesn't know what does what and oh . . . we're about to land! Verbal flatulence and finger pointing is not going to make for a happy landing!
Oh stop with the political nonsense! This is an NHS institutional issue that has been developing for a very long time! Non-clinical management!! In simple terms, the 'manager' of your local supermarket is now the pilot of a plane on which you are going on holiday. Hasn't a clue as to what switch does what and has to keep calling on a 'consultant' because he doesn't know what does what and oh . . . we're about to land! Verbal flatulence and finger pointing is not going to make for a happy landing! qm

9:43am Mon 25 Feb 13

Plantpot says...

monkeymoo wrote:
Who would have thought that closing the A&E in other hospitals, would lead to an increase in attendances at RSCH!!!?

How much was the consultant for this idea paid!?
The crisis, as the article makes clear, is caused by time wasters visiting A&E. there will never be unlimited capacity in any hospital.

What may help is on concentrating on discharging patients, again as the article makes clear.
[quote][p][bold]monkeymoo[/bold] wrote: Who would have thought that closing the A&E in other hospitals, would lead to an increase in attendances at RSCH!!!? How much was the consultant for this idea paid!?[/p][/quote]The crisis, as the article makes clear, is caused by time wasters visiting A&E. there will never be unlimited capacity in any hospital. What may help is on concentrating on discharging patients, again as the article makes clear. Plantpot

9:52am Mon 25 Feb 13

Goldenwight says...

Plantpot wrote:
monkeymoo wrote:
Who would have thought that closing the A&E in other hospitals, would lead to an increase in attendances at RSCH!!!?

How much was the consultant for this idea paid!?
The crisis, as the article makes clear, is caused by time wasters visiting A&E. there will never be unlimited capacity in any hospital.

What may help is on concentrating on discharging patients, again as the article makes clear.
I wouldn't call them 'timewasters' as such- these are people who have genuine medical needs, although I accept that a proportion of them are acting inappropriately.

What does surprise me is that the number who are actually being admitted (which is the real problem, since if they are seen and discharged the problem is confined to the A+E team) is rising continually. Are we suffering more accidents, or are other parts of the NHS failing to deal properly with issues arising?

Just to remind everyone, there is actually an NHS walk in centre in Brighton where service will be a lot quicker when dealing with minor ailments. More serious cases will of course be referred to hospital.

The service is by Brighton station and is open 8am to 8pm daily.
[quote][p][bold]Plantpot[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]monkeymoo[/bold] wrote: Who would have thought that closing the A&E in other hospitals, would lead to an increase in attendances at RSCH!!!? How much was the consultant for this idea paid!?[/p][/quote]The crisis, as the article makes clear, is caused by time wasters visiting A&E. there will never be unlimited capacity in any hospital. What may help is on concentrating on discharging patients, again as the article makes clear.[/p][/quote]I wouldn't call them 'timewasters' as such- these are people who have genuine medical needs, although I accept that a proportion of them are acting inappropriately. What does surprise me is that the number who are actually being admitted (which is the real problem, since if they are seen and discharged the problem is confined to the A+E team) is rising continually. Are we suffering more accidents, or are other parts of the NHS failing to deal properly with issues arising? Just to remind everyone, there is actually an NHS walk in centre in Brighton where service will be a lot quicker when dealing with minor ailments. More serious cases will of course be referred to hospital. The service is by Brighton station and is open 8am to 8pm daily. Goldenwight

9:57am Mon 25 Feb 13

jjbrighton2013 says...

Last time i was there with a relative who needed to be admitted, the person in the next cubicle had 'indigestion sometimes but not today!!!' followed by the usual i've had a few too many drinks and have a cut, knock or whatever...screen them and chuck them out for non A & E conditions.
Last time i was there with a relative who needed to be admitted, the person in the next cubicle had 'indigestion sometimes but not today!!!' followed by the usual i've had a few too many drinks and have a cut, knock or whatever...screen them and chuck them out for non A & E conditions. jjbrighton2013

10:01am Mon 25 Feb 13

bikerjimbo says...

Plantpot has got it right, whereas most of the other commentators are on a political crusade. We have become an instant fix society where people attend A&E, for example, to avoid making a doctors appointment or visiting one of the NHS drop in centres. As the article states the increase is due to non ememrgence cases which have increased over the years. After I had my only bike accident I refused to go to hospital straight away because my injury didn't seem to be serious, my GP sent me to A&E because I needed X rays. I was admonished by staff for not going immediatley because they told me that is what they are there for. I just didn't want to waste their time and I felt I did because nothing was broken. The staff were brilliant. This crisis is of the publics making not the politicians.
Plantpot has got it right, whereas most of the other commentators are on a political crusade. We have become an instant fix society where people attend A&E, for example, to avoid making a doctors appointment or visiting one of the NHS drop in centres. As the article states the increase is due to non ememrgence cases which have increased over the years. After I had my only bike accident I refused to go to hospital straight away because my injury didn't seem to be serious, my GP sent me to A&E because I needed X rays. I was admonished by staff for not going immediatley because they told me that is what they are there for. I just didn't want to waste their time and I felt I did because nothing was broken. The staff were brilliant. This crisis is of the publics making not the politicians. bikerjimbo

11:06am Mon 25 Feb 13

stir up says...

This not just happening in Brighton all over the country A&E departments are being closed. This means that the nuimber of cases at those departments open has risen by 100% with out any additional staff or facilitiies and has led to waits on trollies of over 12 hours before a bed can be found, also as the departments are full to bursting when an ambulance arrives it can be more than and hour before the patient can be taken off the ambulance. So the build up means that a patient waiting for addmission if an ambulance is called for by a GP and is not a 999 call it can be 4-6 hours before the ambulance arrives for the patient. there have been many instances of hospital cars and ambulances called in to help from miles away, in one case a car had to come from Manchester to High Wycombe to take a patient to Aylesbury, on another occassion an ambulance came from Southampton to High Wycomebe to collect a patient from home. Whe A&Es are closed the powers that be appear to have not looked at the outcome of such a move. This surely shows how little they know of running health services, some local trusts come from industry and treat patients like spare car parts or widgets or nuit and bolts.
This not just happening in Brighton all over the country A&E departments are being closed. This means that the nuimber of cases at those departments open has risen by 100% with out any additional staff or facilitiies and has led to waits on trollies of over 12 hours before a bed can be found, also as the departments are full to bursting when an ambulance arrives it can be more than and hour before the patient can be taken off the ambulance. So the build up means that a patient waiting for addmission if an ambulance is called for by a GP and is not a 999 call it can be 4-6 hours before the ambulance arrives for the patient. there have been many instances of hospital cars and ambulances called in to help from miles away, in one case a car had to come from Manchester to High Wycombe to take a patient to Aylesbury, on another occassion an ambulance came from Southampton to High Wycomebe to collect a patient from home. Whe A&Es are closed the powers that be appear to have not looked at the outcome of such a move. This surely shows how little they know of running health services, some local trusts come from industry and treat patients like spare car parts or widgets or nuit and bolts. stir up

11:25am Mon 25 Feb 13

Plantpot says...

A&E's are full of time wasters or non-emergency cases for which alternative treatment routes are available.
A&E's are full of time wasters or non-emergency cases for which alternative treatment routes are available. Plantpot

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