STRUCTURE: Demand led Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust to open extra beds over the bank holiday at the end of May, its chief executive has stated.

In her weekly message to staff, Lisa Rodrigues said the provider had been “inordinately busy” over the past few weeks, with the pressure “felt most keenly in adult mental health”.

“A few days before the bank holiday weekend, I agreed to an urgent proposal from Lorraine Reid, our chief operating officer and her most senior clinicians and managers,” she said.

“This was to open some additional adult beds in Sussex for a short period. It was a very big decision. We don’t get paid a penny extra if we do this; it actually increases our financial pressure,” she noted.

“We could not have managed over the weekend if we had not made this decision,” Ms Rodrigues added. “As it was, all our beds have been full and we have been supporting even more people at home through our crisis and home treatment teams whenever possible.”

However, she warned staff that the “pressure isn’t over” and that “demand is outstripping supply”.

“We have to think differently with our commissioners, because they have no more money,” she said. “I said a couple of months ago that this would be our toughest year ever. It is already proving to be so.”