More than 5,000 patients turned up over Christmas at the accident and emergency (A&E) departments run by the main hospital trust for Brighton and Hove.
The figures – for the fortnight from Monday 18 December to Sunday 31 December inclusive – were 1.3 per cent higher than a year ago.
The trust, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH), said that 4.3 per cent of patients were admitted to hospital after turning up at A&E.
And more than 1,500 of those patients had arrived by ambulance.
The trust runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital, in Brighton, and the Princess Royal Hospital, in Hayward’s Heath.
And while at least 20 NHS hospital trusts around the country have faced noted difficulties in the past few weeks, BSUH entered the new year without having had to close its A&E Department.
Performance figures, published by NHS England, appeared to reflect the success of a local publicity campaign before and during the festive period.
The continuing challenges were highlighted again yesterday (Friday 5 January) as eight beds on Emerald Ward were closed to admissions and transfers.
This followed three suspected cases of norovirus or winter vomiting big or diarrhoea.
The trust said: “Thank you to the public and staff for support during the busy festive period.
“Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) would like to thank its staff and volunteers for their efforts during what was, as ever, an extremely busy Christmas and New Year.
“We would also like to thank the public for the messages of support we have received in recent weeks.
“Between 18 and 31 December, we cared for 5,711 patients in our A&E departments. While this represents only a 1.3 per cent increase from 2016, our number of admissions increased by 4.3 per cent, meaning more patients were in need of our expert care and treatment during this time.
The trust’s chief executive Marianne Griffiths said: “Christmas in our hospitals is one of those great examples of people coming together to make sure our patients get the best treatment at one of the busiest times of year.
“At what can be a difficult time for staff and patients, I’m always amazed by how positive the atmosphere is in hospital on Christmas Day, so I would particularly like to say a very big thank you to everyone who worked and volunteered over the festive period.
“I’d also like to thank their families and loved ones. This time of year can be hard and we appreciate the support they provide.”
The trust said: “Our A&E departments and the ambulance service continue to be extremely busy.
“Please remember that A&E should only be used in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency.”
Guidelines suggest that an ambulance or a trip to A&E is needed if someone has
• a heart attack (eg, chest pain for more than 15 minutes)
• sudden unexplained shortness of breath
• heavy bleeding
• unconsciousness (even if they have regained consciousness)
The trust added: “If your condition is not life-threatening, consider one of the alternatives to A&E www.bsuh.nhs.uk/services/ae/.
“For further advice on how to stay well or get care this winter visit NHS Choices www.nhs.uk/staywell.”
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