THE NHS trust responsible for Worthing Hospital is ‘critically’ close to catastrophe as it struggles to meet the demands of increases in referrals and admissions.
Figures from Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s latest performance report revealed that both A&E and cancer departments had seen significant increases in patient demand in April and May, compared with the same period last year.
Speaking last week, director Jon Furmston said the trust was looking at a system which was being ‘pushed to its extreme’. He asked Jane Farrell, chief operating officer and deputy chief executive, if the trust was facing a ‘catastrophic situation’.
Ms Farrell said: “I think we are critically close to that exact situation, which is why there have been quite extensive discussions to really evaluate the scale of the risk across the system.”
Despite the increases, the trust met, and in the case of A&E, exceeded its compliance targets. However, there is still concern it would not be able to cope if the demands continued to soar.
Marianne Griffiths, the trust’s chief executive, said: “It feels as though things are out of control and our current delivery systems are not managing it,” she said.
But Ms Farrell said a ‘comprehensive’ plan was in place and assured patients the trust was working ‘hard’ to minimise any delays.