How Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust is coping with winter crisis

Health news. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111621001
Health news. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111621001
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NHS England is publishing data each week which documents how each hospital trust is coping with the winter crisis based on key indicators.

Here’s how Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust coped in the week of 8th to 14th January.

BED OCCUPANCY

The trust’s beds were 99.2% full on average, well above the recommended safe limit of 85%.

In hospitals where more than 85% of beds are occupied, there is a greater risk of patients receiving inadequate care, being placed on an inappropriate ward for their condition, or contracting superbugs such as MRSA, according to the British Medical Association.

Occupancy rates have largely stayed the same since the previous week’s report.

Of 626 available beds, 621 were in use on average throughout the week.

Of these, 27 were “escalation beds”, temporary beds set up in periods of intense pressure. These are sometimes placed in areas not usually used for hospital patients, such as gyms or day care centres.

This number has decreased since the previous week, when 31 escalation beds were in use.

Bed blocking, where a patient is well enough to be discharged but unable to leave because the next stage of their care has not been organised, contributes significantly to A&E delays.

Some 128 patients had spent at least three weeks in hospital, taking up 20.5% of all beds.

AMBULANCES

There were 630 arrivals by ambulance to Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust A&E between 8 January and 14 January.

The trust dealt with fewer emergency patients than last week, when there were 658 arrivals.

Of these, 117, or 18.6% of all arrivals, waited more than 30 minutes before they could be transferred to the emergency department.

This was higher than the previous week’s figure of 98.

In addition, 39 patients waited longer than an hour.

This was in line with the previous week’s figure.

The Department of Health says ambulance crews should be able to hand patients over to A&E staff within the 15-minute target time. Failure to meet this target increases the risk to patients and can delay ambulances from attending other emergencies.

NOROVIRUS

The vomiting bug norovirus is placing additional strain on hospitals which are already struggling to find enough beds. The virus is highly contagious, so staff must close an entire ward where a patient is infected.

But in Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, no beds were closed due to norovirus.

In the previous week, no beds were closed due to norovirus.