The A&E staff at West Sussex hospitals have been praised for their hard work and dedication in the face of a challenging summer which saw a rise in demand for the service.
At a board meeting of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, chief operating officer Pete Landstrom reported on its performance in August.
He told board members of the trust, which runs Worthing Hospital, Southlands Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital that the number of emergency admissions had increased by almost 15 per cent, rising to 4,732 patients in August this year compared with 4,122 in 2015.
The department has also seen a dramatic change in the age profile of emergency admissions. The number of patients aged 65 to 84 increased by nearly 25 per cent when compared with the same month last year.
The report noted that this reflects the changing demographic of the local population and is ‘an indicator of the increasing frailty’ of patients.
Mr Landstrom thanked the hospital staff and said: “I can’t emphasise enough how hard they have worked.”
He linked the changes to the demand profile with changes in primary care. He said: “We have adapted and we will continue to adapt.”
The figures from August also revealed that 93.8 per cent of patients waited less than four hours from their arrival at A&E to admission, transfer or discharge.
While this showed an improved performance from July, it meant the target of 95 per cent delivery, set by the Sustainability and Transformation Fund trajectory, was not reached.
However, when put in a regional context, its compliance was the second highest in the South of England, which averaged 86.1 per cent.
Mr Landstrom said: “It’s an improvement but it’s not where we want it to be.”
Mike Viggers, chairman of the trust, praised the staff for ‘constantly delivering a great performance’.
He said: “Demand has increased and staff have responded to it.”
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive, also commended staff who ‘routinely’ stay for hours after their shifts, but added: “We couldn’t have got through this without the voluntary effort from staff.
“We can’t keep relying on their good nature. I do worry about burnout. We have to recognise that demand is going to go up further.”
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