More than 1,000 people waited over 12 hours to be seen at emergency departments across Sussex last month.

Figures from NHS England show over 40 per cent of patients admitted to University Hospitals Sussex hospitals emergency departments waited more than four hours to be admitted.

The hospital trust fell below the national average for waiting time targets and was ranked the worst for waiting times in the county.

Figures for the trust show just 63 per cent of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours of arriving at hospitals.

University Hospitals Sussex runs Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital, Haywards Heath’s Princess Royal Hospital and Worthing Hospital among others. The trust is among the ten largest trusts in the country.

At the trust’s emergency departments 1,205 patients waited over 12 hours in December giving it the third-highest figure in the country.

The trust missed the NHS target of dealing with 95 per cent of patients within four hours as well as the “recovery target” of 76 per cent set by the government.


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East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust which runs emergency departments in Eastbourne and St Leonards, also missed the recovery target. 69.7 per cent of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

The Argus: The Royal Sussex County HospitalThe Royal Sussex County Hospital (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

University Hospitals Sussex and the Royal Sussex County Hospital face issues with corridor care as trolleys were parked within touching distance of each other.

In response to the new figures Dr Andy Heeps, chief operating officer at University Hospitals Sussex said waiting times reflect December being one of the busiest times of the year.

He added: "Our staff are working incredibly hard to give their patients the very best care, but sadly we all recognise the significant challenges they face, and the impact this can have on people needing their support.

"There has been a huge amount of work to reduce the time that patients have to wait, and further improvements are still being made.

Extra capacity was opened at the trust in December and the Royal Sussex will soon open a new surgical assessment unit in a bid to manage demand.