A HOSPITAL boss has thanked patients, public and staff for their support during an “extremely busy” period.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, along with others around the country, has been working under intense pressure ever since Christmas and New Year.

The situation could also escalate over the coming weeks as the impact of bed and staff shortages and a surge in demand from patients continues to hit.

Between December 18 and New Year’s Eve the trust’s accident and emergency departments at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath cared for 5,711 patients.

This represented only a 1.3 per cent increase on the year before.

However the number of people admitted increased by 4.3 per cent, meaning more patients were in need of the trust’s care and treatment during this time.

Trust chief executive Marianne Griffiths said staff had received many messages of support from the public in recent weeks and was blown away by hos positive staff were on Christmas Day.

She said: “Christmas in our hospitals is one of those great examples of people coming together to make sure our patients get the best treatment at one of the busiest times of year.

“At what can be a difficult time for staff and patients, I’m always amazed by how positive the atmosphere is in hospital on Christmas Day.

“I would particularly like to say a very big thank you to everyone who worked and volunteered over the festive period.

“I’d also like to thank their families and loved ones.

“This time of year can be hard and we appreciate the support they provide.”

All A&E departments across the county and the ambulance service are continuing to be busy.

People are being asked to do their bit and only use A&E if it is a life-threatening or serious emergency.

These include suspected heart attacks, sudden unexplained shortness of breath, heavy bleeding and unconsciousness.

For more details about alternatives to A&E, including pharmacies and the Brighton Station walk in centre, visit bsuh.nhs.uk/services/ae/.