St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals ‘still extremely busy’

St Richard's Hospital in Chichester is close to capacity along with Worthing Hospital
St Richard's Hospital in Chichester is close to capacity along with Worthing Hospital

Both St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals remain ‘extremely’ busy following an upsurge in patients over the festive period.

The trust which runs both hospitals has again asked people to only use accident and emergency if they are seriously unwell or injured.

Dr George Findlay, medical director at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Worthing and St Richard’s Hospitals are still extremely busy today (Tuesday, January 3) and we are again asking people only to come into our emergency departments if they are seriously unwell or have suffered a major injury.

“We do anticipate increased demand at this time of year and have opened 95 additional beds to help ease the pressure, but urgent admissions continue to rise.

“For example, the number of people aged over 85 we saw in A&E during Christmas week was 30 per cent higher than in the same period of 2015.”

The trust issued a similar warning immediately after the Christmas bank holiday weekend and the situation has not improved.

As well as an upsurge in demand through A&E, the number of inpatient beds are also close to capacity, some being occupied by patients who are medically fit to be discharged but are currently unable to transfer to alternative care.

Despite the high pressure, people who have used the hospitals over the festive period have got in touch to praise the care given by staff.

Hannah Cooper’s father was rushed in to St Richard’s Hospital at around 7pm on December 27.

Hannah said: “It was very busy with extremely ill people. My father was prioritised very quickly.

“He was on a ward by midnight. The next morning by 10am he was having an operation to install a pacemaker. Brilliant service and staff.

“The only problem I had was on the 999 call. My father had a type of hypoxic seizure.

“When he came round whilst I was still on the phone the lady tried to tell me it wasn’t an emergency anymore and my father didn’t need and ambulance anymore. Bearing in mind in less then 24 hours of arriving he had a pacemaker fitted!”

Dr Findlay added: “Our staff have displayed incredible commitment in maintaining the highest standards of safety and patient care throughout this difficult time, but we’re asking people to do their bit too by always thinking about alternatives to A&E if they are ill or need treatment.”

The hospital trust is working on the basis that it is going to remain busy into the new year.

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