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Extra cash for Sussex A&Es
An extra £4.6 million is being given to NHS bosses to help tackle A&E pressures this winter.
The funding is part of £250 million the Government is spending to support over-stretched hospital emergency departments around the country.
About £2.3 million will go towards helping Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and the same will go to East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
The money will be used to help increase capacity at hospitals in Brighton, Haywards Heath, Eastbourne and St Leonards.
It comes after Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton came under intense pressure earlier this year as it struggled to cope with a high demand from patients, particularly elderly, and a shortage of beds.
The problems led to long waits in A&E, with some patients waiting more than 12 hours before being admitted to a ward.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals was criticised by the Care Quality Commission but changes have been brought in over the last few months and no long waits have been reported since April.
In a joint statement, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Last year emergency departments across Sussex came under huge amounts of pressure so we have been working closely with other health and social care organisations to make sure the whole system is better prepared and more able to cope with increases in demand.
“This money will be used to enhance services within the emergency departments, bolster the teams and services within the hospital who are responsible for patients admitted through A&E and, crucially to continue to strengthen services in the community and in GP surgeries to try and reduce the number of people who end up in the emergency department.”
Work includes providing more support for elderly and vulnerable people at home and in the community so they do not have to come into hospital.
There are also plans for a renewed awareness campaign to remind patients with minor problems to use alternative services such as the Brighton Station walk-in centre, pharmacists and out-of-hour GP services.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals is one of only five trusts in the country to already provide A&E consultant cover overnight.
Winter is traditionally a busy time for A&E because of the threat of a flu epidemic, which can lead to more demands for beds.
It can also put extra pressure on departments if staff fall ill.
The Government is warning hospital bosses to ensure at least three quarters of their staff are get themselves vaccinated against flu this winter or they could miss out on any extra funding next year.
A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare said: “Within East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust we aim to use this additional resource to further improve staffing levels in A&E and reduce the patients' length of stay in hospital following admission.
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