Cold snap adds to pressure on Brighton hospital

Posted On 22 Jan 2013 at 11:42 am

Dozens of people are being treated for broken bones at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The number needing surgery on broken wrists and ankles doubled over the weekend as people fell in the snow and ice.

The Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department became so busy that the hospital went into “business continuity” or crisis management.

Chief nurse Sherree Fagge said in a thank you email to staff: “We have been very busy over the last few months and this is has been exacerbated by the recent snow and icy conditions.

“For example, at the start of the weekend there were 25 patients booked to have surgery on broken wrists and ankles this week.

“By this morning that number had doubled to 50 and it is very likely to keep increasing as people venture out this week.

Sherree Fagge

“At times when the hospital is very busy, and the subsequent staff pressures that brings, there is the potential risk that nursing standards could slip.

“But I am delighted to say that has not happened so far at BSUH (Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust).

“This has been highlighted by the fact we had a CQC (Care Quality Commission) inspection in November and a visit from the Department of Health in December.

“Both praised the care we are providing our patients.

“It is to all your credit that, despite increased pressure, you have continued to work hard to ensure we maintain the high standards we set ourselves for our patients and I would like to thank you all for your hard work over the last few months.

“I would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of staff who overcame the snowy conditions over the weekend to get to work and ensure we could provide business as usual. Your commitment is appreciated.”

BSUH, which runs the Royal Sussex, said: “The number of people attending A&E has risen significantly in recent years, with one in four people being seen in the department who could have self-treated or been treated elsewhere by another local health service.”

Terece Walters, associate director of operations and medicine, said: “We are seeing more and more people attend A&E when they could have been treated elsewhere.

“This means the emergency staff are put under more pressure which can lead to delays in treatment for other emergency patients.

“A&E should only be used in an emergency for serious injuries or critical situations.

“It should not be used for minor injuries or mild illnesses. They can be treated by a number of other health services available.”

BSUH said that those other services included the out of hours GP service, the Brighton Station Health Centre, NHS Direct, local pharmacies or a GP surgery.


  1. Rostrum Reply

    Business as usual. Winter happens every year and plans are made to cope with expect this seasonal fluctuation.

    With regard to ‘being teated else where’ for what conditions are these?
    Most people will take a ‘better safe than sorry’ attitude.
    After all we do pay for it!

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