West Sussex hospitals caring for ‘many more’ Covid-19 patients than at peak of first wave

Healthcare professionals are urging people across West Sussex and Brighton to stay home and save lives following the announcement of another national lockdown on Monday.

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 11:22 am
A sign for Worthing Hospital in West Sussex

Hospitals in Chichester, Worthing, Haywards Heath and Brighton are now caring for ‘many more patients with Covid-19’ than at the peak of the pandemic’s first wave last April, said Dr George Findlay, chief medical officer at Western Sussex Hospitals and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals.

He said: “I wish to thank all our outstanding teams who have been working extraordinarily hard throughout Christmas and New Year. 

“This week, we continue to care for an increasing number of patients with coronavirus, as well as many others in need of hospital treatment and emergency assistance. 

“While we do have robust plans in place to ensure we can look after more patients, our hospitals are now extremely busy and our workforce is understandably tired and in need of people’s support. 

“With a more contagious variant infecting more and more people in Sussex, we’re asking residents to help save lives by staying home.

“Please help us help you, by supporting the lockdown.” 

The national lockdown rules only permit people to leave their homes under limited circumstances, but this does include seeking medical assistance and attending hospital appointments, he stressed.  

Dr Findlay added: “Our hospitals remain open for everyone who needs them.

“Patient safety is our number one priority and we have extensive measures in place to keep both our patients and staff safe. 

“Unfortunately, as the number of people requiring urgent care increases, we do have to postpone some planned care and routine procedures. 

“We deeply regret having to do this and never take the decision lightly.

“We only take this step to ensure we are able to treat patients who need urgent care quickly and to maintain the highest standards of safety for all our patients. 

“We contact everyone affected directly, so unless you hear from us, please attend any appointments you may have as normal.

“It is important for you to be seen. Thank you.” 

Anyone in need of medical assistance, use NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 to be directed to the right service. In a genuine emergency, call 999.

The hospital trust issued a strongly-worded rebuttal yesterday following a post on social media which suggested that St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester was not under pressure.

A spokesman said: “It is very disappointing to see misleading images and inaccurate comments on social media, suggesting that the NHS is not under pressure.

“This is untrue and highly disrespectful to all the patients and families affected by Covid, as well as our staff who are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances.

“Currently at Western Sussex Hospitals we are caring for a large number of patients with Covid-19 – in fact, many more than in the peak of the first wave last April.”