Report to:

East Sussex Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC)


Date of meeting:


2 March 2023


Assistant Chief Executive



NHS Sussex Winter Plan 2022/23 - Update


To provide an update on the NHS Sussex Winter Plan 2022/23.


The Committee is recommended to consider and comment on the report.

1.            Background & supporting information

1.1.        Winter planning is an annual requirement of the NHS to ensure that the local health and social care system has sufficient plans in place to effectively manage the capacity and demand pressures anticipated during the Winter period. The Sussex Winter Plan is a whole system health and social care plan, recognising the interdependencies of the system to meet the needs of the local population. The Plan period runs this year from October 2022 to April 2023.

1.2.        At the Committee’s last meeting held on 15 December 2022 it considered the Winter Plan and requested a further update on its progress to be brought to this meeting. This report provides a summary review of the impact of the Sussex Winter Plan on urgent and emergency care services, together with planned care. The report highlights the impacts of the Sussex wide and East Sussex specific elements of the plan as set out in the paper presented to the HOSC in December 2022 and covers the period to January 2023.

1.3.        Although the Sussex Winter Plan was informed by detailed capacity and demand modelling with evidence-based assumptions, this Winter has been impacted by additional factors that have materially impacted on the local health and social care system. This included an earlier than modelled Covid-19 wave, a greater than modelled increase in flu cases which impacted on acute hospital admissions, a significant surge in paediatric demand driven by an increase in Group A Streptococcus prevalence, and industrial action impacting on ambulance services and NHS providers. The above additional demand factors coalesced at the same time to significantly impact on our health and social care system and urgent and emergency care services with the peak consolidated impact observed during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

1.4.        As a result of these additional risk factors the Sussex health and care system declared a system Business Continuity Incident (BCI) on 16 December, which was then further escalated to a system wide Critical Incident on the 30 December running until 6 January when the system was able to de-escalate back to BCI. The system was then subsequently able to de-escalate on 23 January following review of the system position and significant improvement observed in relation to ambulance handover delays and long waits in A&E.

1.5.        A summary review providing an update of the NHS Sussex Winter Plan 2022/23 is attached as Appendix 1 for consideration by the HOSC and covers the following topics:

·         NHS Sussex Winter Plan – Additional Demand Impacts

·         Our delivery plan: progress

o   Discharge, including rapid improvement workstream actions

o   Out of hospital urgent care rapid improvement programme

o   Improvements in ambulance performance

o   Improvements in 111 performance

o   Acute Hospital Urgent Care Services

o   Out of hospital pathways

o   Increasing primary care capacity and improving care for people who are high risk of hospital admissions

o   Mental Health

o   Infection Prevention and Control

o   Seasonal vaccination programme

o   Workforce

o   Planned Care Recovery Programme

o   Public Health – East Sussex


2.         Conclusion and reasons for recommendations

2.1       HOSC is recommended to consider and comment on the NHS Sussex Winter Plan update.


Assistant Chief Executive

Contact Officer: Martin Jenks, Senior Scrutiny Adviser
Tel. No. 01273 481327