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The Royal College of Nursing says members working in A&E have been in touch saying that they are concerned about patients safety at the RSCH in Brighton. This is their statement.
Nurses from the A&E department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital have contacted the Royal College of Nursing concerned that they are unable to deliver good patient care due to overcrowding and understaffing.
Nurses have told the RCN South East Region that the last week in the department has been 'the worst week of their working lives', with ongoing pressure on A&E and the local ambulance service due to the high demand across the Sussex region showing no sign of improvement.
On Monday (11 March) the hospital was once again forced to declare a major incident in due to the high level of demand, and to ensure patient safety, where ambulances were advised to divert to other A&E departments.
Teresa Budrey, Sussex Officer for the RCN, said: "Staff members are feeling stressed out and undervalued. They are desperately trying to deliver good care in difficult and challenging circumstances. There have been up to 13 patients waiting to be placed at one time, although they have all had access to triage support from a senior nurse, and the ambulance service.
"We understand the pressure on A&E is caused by a number of factors, not all of which can be helped, but we are deeply concerned by this situation. We are pressing managers at the hospital to resolve this situation in the interests of both patients and staff."
Chief Nurse of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Sherree Fagge says:
"I absolutely place enormous value on the role the RCN plays supporting the nursing profession and its members and we have been working very closely with them throughout this incredibly difficult and challenging period. I can assure them that here at the hospital we are doing everything we can, day and night, to resolve the acute pressure the hospital is under in the interests of both staff and patients.
Within the hospital we are taking significant steps and making important investments to improve our services and better support the Emergency Department. All winter we have been running a campaign to promote and raise awareness of the alternatives to A&E for those people who do not have an emergency illness or injury. That way the teams in the Emergency Department can absolutely focus on the patients who need their expertise. Coupled with that, we need greater availability and accessibility of health and social care services which can provide for people who are ready to be discharged from hospital. Today, there are around 50 patients in our beds who do not need to be in an acute hospital.
I am also well aware of how hard this has been for our nurses and the enormous impact on them of working under such pressure for such a prolonged period of time. We are doing everything we can to support the whole team including investing £500,000 to increase the number of nurses in our Emergency Departments which we are doing as quickly as possible. "