The ArgusInvestigation into how long it took for bed to become available (From The Argus)

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Patient’s 12-hour A&E wait at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester

The Argus: Investigation into how long it took for bed to become available Investigation into how long it took for bed to become available

A HOSPITAL held an investigation after a patient was left waiting more than 12 hours for a bed to become available.

The patient was being seen in the accident and emergency department at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester and told they would need to be admitted for further treatment.

However it took more than 12 hours before a space could be found on a hospital ward elsewhere in the hospital.

Patients are supposed to be seen, treated and a decision made to either discharge or admit them within four hours.

Hospitals then have to record how long it takes for a patient to be found a bed.

A further ten patients using A&E at Worthing and St Richard’s ended up waiting between four and 12 hours for a place on a ward.

The figures came from NHS England’s weekly report on A&E departments across the county over the seven days leading up to April 27.

Jane Farrell, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This was an exceptionally busy period for the whole hospital and our partners across the health community and we are very sorry that one of our patients was not able to be transferred from A&E sooner.

“Such delays are incredibly rare and we have carried out a full investigation into what happened and shared the findings and recommendations with our staff.

“Our A&E departments, with support from teams across the hospital, are among the best performing in the country.

“Almost 97% of patients are seen, treated, admitted or discharged within the four hour limit – well above the national average, which makes this case all the more disappointing.”

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, had 118 patients waiting between four and 12 hours.

The Royal Sussex came under fire a year ago after a surge in demand and a shortage of beds led to patients spending long hours in A&E.

However managers introduced changes and there have been no waits of more than 12 hours since April 2013.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which had nine patients waiting between four and 12 hours, had a 12-hour breach at the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards in December.

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