MORE than 50 patients were left lying on hospital trolleys for more than 12 hours at a crisis-struck hospital trust.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 51 patients spent more than 12 hours on a trolley at the Royal Sussex County and Princess Royal hospitals during 2017 – but hospital bosses refused to say how long the longest wait was or the reasons behind the delays.

The figures were released as Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust entered the third day of a “critical incident”, meaning all beds are full and patients are urged to stay away. Health services have been trying to work together to keep patients out of A&E –but hundreds of new patients continue to walk through the hospital’s doors each day- and the wider crisis in the NHS has been blamed for the problems.

Cuts to social care forcing patients to stay in hospital, combined with added pressures on the city’s GPs forcing more people to seek help in A&E has led to the hospital functioning at almost full capacity for months.

During the recent cold snap the wards could no longer cope and some non-urgent operations and clinics had to be cancelled.

Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said: “The Royal Sussex County has repeatedly failed residents.

“That is in part down to how they made decisions on how they financed things.

“It’s not something in isolation in the NHS.

“While residents are being failed, this is not just a local issue.”

Green MEP Keith Taylor said: “The critical incident at the Royal Sussex is symptomatic of the wider crisis in our NHS; which was never a ‘winter’ nor a ‘flu’ crisis but is an entirely avoidable funding crisis.

“The frontline staff at the hospital are working as hard as they can to alleviate the issues but, ultimately, the situation is an inevitable consequence of the Tory Government’s decision to deliberately slash NHS hospital capacity by five million patients a year.”

Patients were urged to stay away from A&E on Tuesday – 99 patients were discharged on Tuesday night but 292 more arrived in A&E, meaning the situation is far from under control.

The trust was last night unable to update The Argus on the latest situation

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove clinical commissioning group said: “All the organisations responsible for health and social care across the area are working extremely hard together to make sure patients receive safe and high quality care.

“However, we recognise we still have work to do and we will carry on working in partnership to ensure the progress we have made continues.

“Frontline staff are working extremely hard to provide care for patients and local people can also play their part by making sure they use the services available to them appropriately and at the right time.

“Some people are using services, such as A&E departments and GPs, when they could have been seen elsewhere or treated themselves more effectively at home.”

Patients are advised to seek help from pharmacies, the 111 services and the drop-in centre near Brighton Station unless it is a genuine emergency.