Warning as East Sussex hospitals under 'extreme pressure'

Eastbourne District Hospital
Image caption The trust which runs Eastbourne District Hospital and Conquest was rated inadequate

Hospital bosses in East Sussex say services are under "extreme pressure" because of "unprecedented demand".

The NHS trust which runs the Conquest in Hastings and Eastbourne District General said people should think hard about whether they needed A&E.

"We need to make sure our hospital beds and resources are saved for those who need them most," it said.

The warning comes after South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) said it was working at a critical level.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The trust manages Conquest Hospital as well as Eastbourne District General Hospital

East Sussex NHS Healthcare Trust was put into special measures in September following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which said it was inadequate in areas including safety.

The trust said emergency and urgent care services across East Sussex were experiencing major spikes in demand, with significant increases in people attending A&E and ringing for an ambulance.

GP services and walk-in-centres at Eastbourne Station and Station Plaza, Hastings, had also been extremely busy.

"Over the past few days we have seen unprecedented pressures on our services, particularly in the emergency departments and those needing urgent admission," said medical director Dr David Hughes.

"The public can really help us by taking the appropriate action to treat your condition, which might mean speaking to your pharmacist, calling NHS 111, contacting your GP or a walk-in centre."

Image copyright SECAMB
Image caption Secamb said staff were working at "an intensity never seen before" over Easter

Secamb said on Tuesday demand across its Kent, Sussex and Surrey region was up 11% compared with Easter 2015 with its emergency operations centres receiving more than 9,500 999 calls.

It said it faced extra pressure in responding to Storm Katie on Monday, but GP surgeries were closed, some out-of-hours provision was insufficient and hospital A&E departments were "incredibly busy".

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