Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Repeat patients return to Sussex emergency departments every four days
6:00am Monday 12th May 2014 in News
A patient was admitted to accident and emergency on 89 occasions in just one year.
This is just one of the number of repeat patients being admitted through the revolving doors of Sussex’s under pressure emergency departments.
Figures obtained by The Argus show repeat patients were admitted to the county’s overstretched accident and emergency wards as frequently as once every four days.
Almost 450 residents were admitted to stretched A&E departments at two of the county’s three hospital trusts at least ten times in a year in a three-year period.
Councils and health bosses said they were introducing new ways of working to try and reduce the need for the county’s most needy residents to be treated in hospitals.
The figures reveal one patient visited the A&E department of Conquest Hospital, in Hastings 89 times between April 2010 and March 2011. A second patient attended St Richards’ Hospital in Chichester on 54 occasions in one year.
Medical staff at Eastbourne District General Hospital treated three different patients on 63, 62 and 56 separate occasions.
The figures also show that the frequency of repeat visits was on the decline with the highest number of visits in 2012/13 for either East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust or Western Sussex NHS Trust hospitals a comparative small 39.
In total for the three years between April 2010 and March 2013 figures from West Sussex NHS Trust show that 112 regular repeat patients attended Worthing Hospital on average more than 16 times a year while 57 patients visited St Richards’ on average 19 times a year.
Conquest Hospital received 163 patients who attended at least ten times a year while in Eastbourne, accident and emergency staff treated 173 patients at least ten times in a year.
A Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust official said: “Unfortunately, due to limitations in our current patient administration system associated with A&E attendance, we are unable to provide definitive data.”
Sarah Wilmer, head of nursing for acute and emergency medicine at East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The numbers of frequent attendees are small relative to the total number of patients attending A&E.
“It is important that patients and the public know about, and use the full range of health services available in their local area rather than just coming to A&E.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said new ways of working were being developed such as Proactive Care to keep elderly vulnerable people out of hospital A&E departments and with the NHS and West Sussex County Council working together on mental health, continuing healthcare, and services for children with complex health needs.
He added: “With an increasingly ageing population and resources becoming increasingly stretched it is vital that local authorities and the NHS work more closely together to help to provide care in more appropriate locations.
“However, we recognise that we need to do more and this is what we are doing through a new single shared budget between health and social care called The Better Care Fund.
“This is designed to bring about closer working to deliver better services for the population of West Sussex.”
A Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group spokeswoman said a city campaign called Save A&E For Saving Lives encouraged people to use alternative services wherever appropriate while joint work with the city council will increase through the Better Care Fund.
She added a collaborative of Brighton and Hove GPs was recently awarded £1.8 million from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to improve access for patients.
Comments are closed on this article.