St Richard’s Hospital moves to allay fears of cardiac beds cut

Grave concerns have been expressed about provision of beds in the cardiac unit at St Richard’s Hospital.

The Observer was contacted by several sources, who wished to remain anonymous, about changes which they say have taken place over the past month regarding the number of beds in the unit.

One contact said that as a result of over-expenditure in the trust, nine acute cardiac beds had been shut without any notice to staff and without any consultation to cardiologists or other people involved.

They said that as a result, the coronary care unit had moved to another ward with nine fewer beds.

One of the letters sent to the Observer said: “If you are a cardiac patient that needs to be admitted to hospital and yet there are not enough beds in the cardiac ward, chances are you will be admitted as an outlier to another non-cardiac ward that are not as experienced as the cardiac.

“Would you be happy and would you feel safe?

“They might put an experienced staff in, but the ward will not be equipped for the patients’ needs.”

But Western Sussex Hospitals Trust, which is in charge of running the hospital, has moved to allay the fears expressed and said the changes were as a result of seasonal fluctuations in demand for services.

Director of clinical services for the medicine division, Sally Smith said: “During the summer and autumn months there tends to be less demand for some of our services than in winter.

“We have seen that reduction in demand recently and so rather than continue to keep beds open when they were not being used, we decided to temporarily reduce our capacity.

“That ensures our staff and resources can focus on the areas where they can do the most good for patients.

“When demand rises again later in the year, as it undoubtedly will, the beds will be reopened to ensure patient needs are met.”