Over the last few weeks, the paediatric (children’s) emergency department at East Surrey Hospital has been experiencing ongoing extreme pressure due to an unprecedented surge in the numbers of severely ill children attending and needing admission. This surge is more than the usual seasonal pattern we see and means waiting times in the department have been much longer than usual.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) is therefore encouraging parents who need urgent care for their children to make the right choice of health service so they can be seen as promptly as possible and keep emergency services for those in most need.

With high demand being experienced across local NHS services, it’s important to make sure everyone gets care and support in the right place, at the right time, by the right healthcare professional.

Jane Dickson, chief of nursing and midwifery at SASH, said: “Our emergency department for children is always here for you if you’re worried your child has a serious condition. We are really busy at the moment, but our teams are pulling out all the stops to look after those who need us. Parents know their children best, so if you think it’s something that needs emergency treatment, please do come to the emergency department. If you need urgent care for your child that isn’t an emergency there are lots of places you can get the appropriate advice more quickly than the emergency department. Please make sure you’re aware of the best service for your child’s needs.”

For parents who need the emergency department we are here for you.

  • Please make sure you are attending your nearest emergency department. If you live close to another local emergency department the waiting times and bed availability there may well be better. This helps to make sure everyone is seen as quickly as possible.

For those who do need help for urgent care that’s not an emergency, there are alternatives to visiting East Surrey Hospital’s A&E. Local walk-in / minor injuries units include:

  • Crawley Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre. Open 24/7 for adults and children. You do not need to book an appointment - just turn up and you will be seen by either a doctor or nurse.
  • Horsham Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Providing assessment and treatment of a wide range of minor injuries in both adults and children.
  • Queen Victoria Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Open 7 days a week, 8am-8pm, for both adults and children over one year old.

Pharmacists can also give expert clinical advice for minor health concerns and help with many common illnesses.

  • Enter your postcode here to find out where your nearest pharmacist is.

See your GP for a range of health concerns

  • The doctors, nurses and other health professionals at local GP surgeries are there to support you with new and ongoing health concerns, with appointments available to be booked online and over the phone.
  • If you need to see a doctor when your GP surgery is closed, use the NHS 111 service.

Patients with a ‘paediatric passport’

Parents of children with a ‘Paediatric Passport’ at East Surrey Hospital for their severe / chronic condition should contact our child assessment unit as usual if their child has an urgent medical problem so we can make sure they get the right care.