Ahead of the biggest strike in NHS history, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) is urging the local community to choose services wisely to help ensure care is available for patients who need it most.

Junior doctors, who are members of The British Medical Association (BMA) and Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HSCA), are expected to take part in a second round of industrial action from 06:59am on Tuesday 11 April until 06:59am on Saturday 15 April. The action immediately follows the four-day bank holiday weekend, a period which is always challenging for hospitals and the wider NHS.

While NHS services will still be available for urgent and emergency care during the latest wave of industrial action, services are expected to be very busy.

During the last strike huge numbers of patients still attended East Surrey Hospital’s emergency department, it is therefore vital that people who need care choose services wisely to help ensure care is available to patients who need it.

This includes using NHS 111, walk-in-centres, GP practices, pharmacies, Crawley Urgent Treatment Centre and the Minor Injury Units at Caterham Dene, Horsham and East Grinstead for non-life-threatening care, and only using 999 or East Surrey emergency department in a genuine emergency – such as if you are seriously ill or experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

Hospital staff will be working round the clock to ensure the safe care of all patients who need urgent and emergency care, as well as maintaining as much routine care as possible, and while disruption should be expected, the Trust are working hard to minimise this. People should therefore not put off seeking vital care on strike days.

Paul Simpson, Deputy chief executive, said:

“Thank you to our local community for all their support during what we are expecting to be an exceptionally busy period. For those who need to use our services this week disruption should be expected, but we are working hard to minimise this and maintain as much routine care as possible so please continue to attend any scheduled appointments unless we have informed you otherwise.

“Where you don’t need emergency or urgent care as your condition isn’t life-threatening, please remember to utilise other NHS services out there besides A&E and 999 such as 111 online, your local pharmacy or GP, as well as nearby treatment centres at Crawley, Caterham Dene, Horsham and East Grinstead. This will help ensure care is available to patients who need it most.”

Patients who need medical advice or non-life-threatening care should:

  • Use 111 online as their first port of call as this will be able to identify the most appropriate local service, patients should only call 111 if they do not have access to the internet.
  • Patients should also make use of local pharmacies and General Practice for non-urgent medical issues as much as possible.
  • Visit the local Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC) and Minor Injury Units (MIU). These are:
    • Caterham MIU (if aged 18 and over) – Located at Caterham Dene Hospital, Church Road, Caterham, CR3 5RA. Open 9am – 8pm, seven days a week. This is a convenient alternative to A&E and is run by qualified emergency nurse practitioners. The MIU provides treatment for cuts and grazes, sprains and strains, broken bones (fractures), bites and stings, infected wounds, eye problems such as infections or scratches, sports injuries, minor burns and scalds. X-ray facilities available on site.
    • Crawley UTC – Located at Crawley Hospital, West Green Drive, Crawley, RH11 7DH. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. UTCs treat most injuries that are urgent but not life threatening. For example, sprains and strains, broken bones, minor burns and scalds, minor head and eye injuries, bites and stings.
    • Horsham MIULocated at Horsham Hospital, Hurst Road, Horsham, RH12 2DR. Open 9am – 5pm from Monday – Friday, excluding bank holidays. They are a minor injuries unit staffed by emergency nurse practitioners and other nursing and ancillary staff. They provide assessment and treatment of a wide range of minor injuries in both adults and children. Following assessment patients may be treated and discharged or, if appropriate, referred onto other health care providers. X-ray facilities available on site.

Patients should only call 999 or come to A&E in a life-threatening emergency.

Patients who have an appointment on strike days:

  • Should continue to attend any appointments as planned unless we have contacted you to rearrange.
  • The safety of our patients is our absolute priority and appointments will only be rearranged as a last resort to ensure that we have enough frontline staff to care for those who are critically or seriously ill.
  • We do understand how frustrating this will be for our patients. Please bear with us and we will do everything we can to re-book you for the earliest possible date.