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Red alert over hospital bed shortages
A surge in patients and bed shortages have forced hospital bosses to declare a red alert.
Demand is likely to intensify today and throughout this week with last night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations expected to be one of the busiest nights of the year at A&E.
In his weekly email to staff on Monday, chief executive Matthew Kershaw said 2013 “hasn’t been the easiest”.
“As a public service it is absolutely right we are held to account for what we do, that shortcomings are highlighted and addressed as quickly and effectively as possible and lessons are learned so we don’t repeat mistakes.”
He added: “However, the year has also been a successful and productive one with some noteworthy achievements.”
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust’s current red alert status is the third highest out of four levels.
It means the trust has capacity issues, high numbers of people coming into A&E, extended ambulance turnaround times and staff shortages.
Extra staff have already been drafted in to help with demand in A&E and teams are working closely to make sure patients are discharged as early as possible to free up beds.
The highest level, black alert, which involves cancelling operations and appointments, was declared for three days in the middle of December.
Since then the trust has mainly been operating at amber and red level.
Hospital bosses said there was no specific reason for why the hospitals had been so busy.
A spokesman said: “The new year period is usually one of the busiest times of the year in our emergency departments and we have a number of measures in place to help us cope with the extra demand.
“However, we are also calling on the public to help us by only going to A&E with serious injuries, illnesses and broken bones.
“There are a number of alternative services available which can deal with most health problems, such as local pharmacies, NHS 111, GPs and the walk in centre on Queen’s Road in Brighton.”
For more information about where to go, including opening times and directions, visit www.wecould beheroes.nhs.uk.
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