Unprecedented levels of demand at A&E

Published on by Becki Shaw (author)

NHS (photo: )


Hospital directors in Hastings are urgently appealing to the public not to visit Accident and Emergency unless they have to.

The Conquest hospital in Hastings and Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, have issued warnings saying they fear lack of beds and staff shortages mean they can't guarantee to treat people with minor ailments. 

Statistics released by the NHS trust this week show that hospitals up and down the country are falling short of their targets for waiting times.

Patients are supposed to be seen within four hours of arriving at A&E, but the figures show that hospitals are not keeping up to standards. The performance is the worst quarterly result since the target was introduced at the end of 2004.

Now some of the major hospitals in Sussex have issued urgent appeals to people to think twice about visiting A&E for minor ailments. 

Sussex staff claim that non-emergency patients are likely to have an extremely long wait and will be taking staff away from patients who may need life saving care. 

Terrence 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.. 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."



Medical guidelines say appropriate conditions to use the emergency services include chest pains, breathing difficulties and severe head trauma. Minor conditions can be treated by either visiting a pharmacy or GP and calling the NHS 111 phoneline.

The major incidents at hospitals have now sparked a political row between Labour and the Conservatives. 

Labour leader Ed Miliband has claimed that David Cameron has "betrayed patients". Cameron hit back saying that Labour was using the NHS as "political football". 

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