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Hospitals at breaking point

STAFF at Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester cared for more people than ever this Christmas and New Year.


More than 4,100 people attended the two Accident and Emergency departments over the holiday period.


That has seen a rise of 8.8 per cent on last year and it’s also seen the number of patients admitted to wards rise by 6 per cent.


Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Marianne Griffiths has paid tribute to the efforts of all those who worked so hard throughout the period.


She also thanked local people for their messages of support and their own efforts to reduce pressure on the hospitals by only attending A&E when absolutely necessary and seeking non-emergency treatment from other NHS services such as pharmacies, GP surgeries and the NHS 111 telephone advice line.


Mrs Griffiths said: “Our teams have worked extraordinarily hard this Christmas and New Year and, despite the very challenging circumstances, they have done it, yet again, with exemplary skill, kindness and compassion.


“I am extremely proud of the outstanding service they provide and cannot thank colleagues enough for their dedication, additional hours worked and the care they provide to each other, as well as our patients, when the going gets tough.”


The hospitals opened 45 extra beds and many staff worked additional shifts or longer hours to make sure that patients were treated safely and as quickly as possible.


Other local health and social care organisations also provided valuable support.


They were on hand to enable patients who were ready to leave hospital to be cared for at home or elsewhere in the community.


Mrs Griffiths (pictured right) added: “We also wish to thank everyone who has provided messages of support for our staff at Western Sussex Hospitals. It is enormously appreciated and makes a real difference. Thank you.”


The trust is asking people to continue coming into A&E only when absolutely necessary as the winter goes on and the need for emergency care remains high, and also to help relatives and friends who are in hospital to prepare to leave as soon as they are ready to do so.


Western Sussex Hospitals is working with other health and social care organisations across the region on a new ‘Let’s Get You Home’ initiative that will support patients to return home safely, or to move to a care home or supported housing if that is not possible.


Evidence shows that patients recover better in their own homes once their hospital treatment has been completed, while hospitals also need as many beds available as possible, especially during the winter months when more people are ill or have accidents. ​


More information about the Let’s Get You Home initiative is available at westernsussexhospitals/letsgetyouhome.

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