The chief executive of the trust that runs East Surrey Hospital says staff are bracing for a ‘difficult winter’.
A survey of A&E departments across the country by the NHS Confederation has revealed many could be close to ‘breaking point’ this winter.
Michael Wilson, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) which runs the Redhill hospital, said: It’s going to be a difficult winter. There’s a tremendous pressure on acute providers because of the way in which demography has changed.”
However, Mr Wilson said in the three years he had been in post, he had secured £50m of investment, with around £7m of that in people and new staff.
The trust was also working closely with community providers on an extra 55 beds to get it through winter.
He said: “There’s a tremendous pressure on acute providers because the way in which demography is changing. We have not prepared for the demographic changes that we are having to face. That’s the problem.
“It’s a good hospital. It does not do everything right and we have got more to do but you have to understand we operate in a very complex environment.
“We are one of the handful of trusts that are proud to say that we can treat people within 18 weeks.”
On the huge area covered by East Surrey Hospital Mr Wilson, who was speaking to a health committee of Horsham District Council, said it was ‘unprecedented in scale’ and added: “My view, from me, I would probably not have ended up with what we have got.”
However, he defied anybody to deal with the geographical and demographics at East Surrey with 12 years of no investment.
Going forward Mr Wilson, added he was very much in favour of investing in the community-led model working with councils’ social care departments to care for people in their homes to help prevent admissions to hospital.
He said: “The unknown is whether it works or not. We do not know. If we are going to put more home based care in, it sounds fine, but if we do not do it right it will be a disaster.”