A&E admissions in West Sussex on the rise
Figures revealed in a Department of Health reply to a question tabled by Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert show that the number of people being admitted to Accident and Emergency departments in local hospitals has risen by nearly a fifth in the past three years alone.
The number of patients being admitted to the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which includes the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, via its A&E departments rose from 17,721 in 2003-04 to 20,073 in 2005-06, an increase of 13 per cent. The Royal West Sussex NHS Trust, which includes St Richard's Hospital in Chichester, saw an increase in A&E admissions from 11,103 to 13,222 between 2003-04 and 2005-06 (up 19 per cent), while the Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust saw A&E admissions rise from 12,168 in 2003-04 to 14,124 in 2005-06 (up 16 per cent).
Other figures obtained by Nick Herbert show that the number of people attending West Sussex's A&E departments has also risen over the past three years, as have the number of babies being born at local hospitals.
These substantial increases come at a time when the downgrading of local hospitals, including the Princess Royal, St Richard's and Worthing, could see them losing their A&E departments and maternity services, forcing patients to make the journey to Portsmouth, Brighton or Redhill.
The Government's figures look even starker when placed against the estimate that West Sussex's population will increase by at least 30,000 by 2016 and when the Government remains determined to impose at least 58,000 new houses on West Sussex over the next two decades.
Nick Herbert commented: "With the number of people admitted to local A&Es going up, the health authorities need to explain where these patients will be treated if our hospitals are downgraded.
"We keep being told that many A&E admissions are for routine matters that could be treated closer to home, but we have seen no plans for new facilities to deal with such patients. The proposals don't add up."