SEVEN patients in one day waited more than 12 hours in a hospital accident and emergency department for a bed to become available.

The breaches were mentioned in a report to Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust’s board, which meets today.

They are the first experienced by the trust since January and all took place on August 8.

The report said the trust had been dealing with short-term capacity issues and was also feeling the impact of a busy weekend caused by thousands of people descending on Brighton for Pride.

All patients visiting A&E should be seen, treated and a decision made to admit or discharge them within four hours.

If they wait longer than 12 hours it is seen as a serious incident by NHS England and the trust is at risk of being fined.

Bed blocking was the main cause of the delays at the trust’s accident and emergency departments in Brighton and Haywards Heath.

These are patients who are ready to be discharged but have to wait for a nursing or care home bed to become available or to have a package of support provided in their own home.

The report said: “Waiting for admission to an inpatient ward remained the highest single reason for patients waiting longer than four hours in A&E.

“Difficulties in access to beds due to formal delayed transfers of care patients reduced slightly.

“In real terms, this reflects an average of 60 to 70 beds occupied by patients who could be cared for in a non-acute setting.”

A £30 million expansion of A&E at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton is currently under way.

It includes extra beds and a redesign of the layout to make it easier for patients and staff to get around.

The trust continues to experience high demand and failed to hit the four-hour A&E target for August, with 83.6 per cent of patients seen on time compared with the 95 per cent national standard.

The Royal Sussex saw 74.1 per cent of patients on time while Princess Royal Hospital’s figure was 89.8 per cent.