Doctors take action over A&E ‘black alert’

A&E, St Richard's Hospital ''Picture by Louise Adams C140028-6 Chi St Richard's Hospital ENGSUS00120140113154258
A&E, St Richard's Hospital ''Picture by Louise Adams C140028-6 Chi St Richard's Hospital ENGSUS00120140113154258

DOCTORS took an extra 360 appointments over the weekend to ease pressure on Accident and Emergency departments.

Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust (WSHFT) and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) opened eight extra surgeries on Saturday and four extra surgeries on Sunday, including Langley House Surgery, in Chichester and Selsey Medical Centre.

Gail Isted, business manager at Seal Medical Group, said she and Nicola Collins, practice manager at Selsey Medical Practice, were pleased to take part.

“Since the start of the Christmas and New year period we have seen an escalation in demand for appointments and visits and we have seen more patients than we normally do at this time of year,” she said.

“It’s thanks to all of our team that we are able to continue to provide the best care for our patients.”

This action comes after St Richard’s Hospital was put on ‘black alert’ – meaning bed capacity had been reached.

The Observer Series reported last week that patients queued outside A&E and most planned surgeries were cancelled.

Dr George Findlay, medical director at WSHFT, said at that time: “It’s a level of activity we’ve not seen before. The A&E department is extremely busy at both hospitals, we have patients queueing to get into the right parts of the emergency departments and we’ve actually got more patients than spaces.”

Earlier this week Dr Findlay said the situation had improved.

He said: “Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our staff, as well as community and social care partners, our hospitals are in a better position today than they were this time last week.”

However he added ‘there is still a significant number of extra beds in use’.

Dr Katie Armstrong, clinical chief officer at the CCG, said NHS staff worked ‘extremely well together’ to make sure patients were able to receive ‘the best possible care, in the most appropriate place’.

She said: “Every part of health and social care has been seeing and treating more patients than expected for this time of the year, but we are all committed to making sure patient care is the absolute priority.”