STRUCTURE: St Richard’s and Worthing Hospitals have been confirmed as important parts of a new Sussex-wide network set up to improve emergency care for the most seriously-injured patients.

The two accident and emergency departments run by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust have both been accredited as trauma units, after the Sussex Trauma Network approved the Worthing application this month. St Richard’s status was awarded in April.

The new networks are designed around regional Major Trauma Centres, which specialise in treating people who have suffered potentially life-threatening major trauma. The major centre in the Sussex network is the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton.

Amanda Wellesley, Western Sussex Hospitals lead clinician for A&E, said: “The patients who sustain the biggest trauma will go to the major centre and the next level down will be able to come to St Richard’s or Worthing.

“Gaining this status is a great vote of confidence in the quality of care we provide and will mean more patients can be cared for closer to home.”

Medical director Phillip Barnes added: ““The trust board has repeatedly stated its commitment to ensuring A&E, emergency surgery and consultant-led maternity services continue at Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals.

“Achieving Trauma Unit status for both is recognition of the need for these services at both sites and our ability to provide them.”