Patients at BSUH A&E waited more than 12 hours for treatment

The cohort area at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton
The cohort area at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton

More than 30 patients in need of treatment waited over 12 hours for an A&E bed after a decision was made to admit them.

Figures revealed by NHS England show Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, saw just over 13,000 patients in October 2015.

But 37 patients waited more than 12 hours to be admitted to the A&E unit in the same month.

Under NHS rules, patients should be treated or admitted within four hours. At the trust, 82 per cent of patients were seen within four hours with 561 patients waiting for longer.

A&E units across England missed their four-hour targets with the average performance dropping below 95 per cent.

Care Quality Commission

In October, the Care Quality Commission rated the safety and management of the A&E unit as inadequate, saying cubicles were not consistently cleaned and checked between patients because of high patient turnover.

However chief executive Matthew Kershaw, who has recently announced he will be leaving the trust, said significant changes are being made at the hospital.

Speaking at the time, he said: “Specialist surgical and medical clinicians are now working alongside the Emergency Department team to ensure patients are seen by the right clinical teams earlier which will lead to quicker assessment and treatment.

“We are also improving the way we provide tests, treatments and therapies for patients on our wards, which will help patients return home quicker, freeing up space for other patients who need to be admitted to a hospital bed.”

The hospital has since opened a ward at Princess Royal Hospital to provide additional beds.

It has also opened a new NHS ward in Newhaven to care for patients and help them return home.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals

A spokesperson for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals said: “Our aim is always to treat patients in our Emergency Departments as quickly as possible and more than 8 out of 10 of our patients are being seen, treated and admitted or discharged within four hours.

“Our overall performance is getting better as a result of improvements we have made across the Trust but we know we have more to do and that when the hospital is exceptionally busy there are times when patients have to wait longer than we would like.

“All patients who do have to wait in A&E are seen by a clinician within twenty minutes of arriving in the department, are made as comfortable as possible and are regularly monitored in a safe environment.

“We are also working with our partners to improve the discharge of patients who no longer need an acute hospital bed.

“Today we have 48 patients in our beds who are medically ready to be discharged (which equates to nearly 400 lost beds days) and the longest of these is a patient at the Princess Royal Hospital who has been ready and waiting to be discharged for 42 days. Not being able to discharge patients who are ready to leave has an impact on how quickly we can admit patients from our Emergency Departments and our performance in relation to the 4-hour standard.”

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