Staff St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester cared for more people than ever this Christmas and New Year, the trust said.
More than 4,100 people attended the two Accident & Emergency departments at St Richard’s and Worthing Hospital, run by the same trust, over the holiday period.
It is an 8.8 per cent increase on a year ago, while the number of patients admitted to wards was also up 6 per cent.
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.
The south east’s ambulance service also thanked staff and volunteers for what was an ‘extremely busy Christmas and New Year.
Other local health and social care organisations also provided valuable support in enabling patients who were ready to leave hospital to be cared for at home or elsewhere in the community, said Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both St Richard’s and Worthing.
Chief executive Marianne Griffiths paid tribute to the efforts of all those who worked so hard throughout the holiday 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.
“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 still asking people to continue only coming into A&E 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.
South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) said in the six hours between 10pm on New Year’s Eve and 4am on 1 January, SECAmb handled approximately 1,000 999 calls – close to three calls a minute, though this was slightly down on last year.
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.
More information about the Let’s Get You Home initiative is available at www.westernsussexhospitals/letsgetyouhome