This Christmas Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) are urging people to consider their options before going to the Emergency Department (ED) at East Surrey Hospital.

The Trust, which is still responding to the current industrial action from junior doctors and managing a number of respiratory conditions from those coming into the hospital, is expecting services to be exceptionally busy over the coming days. Last year, between 22 December 2022 to 2 January 2023, SASH saw 3,672 attendances to its Emergency Department.

The Trust has advised that ED is for emergencies only. Those arriving over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays with non-urgent minor injuries and illnesses such as coughs and colds and scalds and sprains will be redirected to other NHS services where medically appropriate.

Anyone who does not have a life-threatening illness or injury is asked to use NHS 111 online as a first port of call, and also make use of other local NHS healthcare services such as:

  • Your GP
  • Pharmacies – who can help you manage a range of minor conditions such as headaches, an upset stomach, and other common illnesses safely and effectively at home. To find ones open in our area, along with opening times, please click here.
  • For injuries and non-life-threatening care, you can receive immediate care at the Crawley Urgent Treatment Centre and the Minor Injury Units at Caterham Dene, Horsham and East Grinstead. First Community’s Christmas arrangements can be found here.
  • Walk-in centres – with no appointment necessary your local walk-in centre is managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks.

People should only use 999 or the East Surrey Emergency Department in a genuine emergency.

Dr Natalie Broomhead, Chief of Medicine said:

“This Christmas and New Year our teams will be working tirelessly to treat people with life-threatening emergencies and to provide urgent help for people who may have become seriously ill with conditions such as a stroke or a heart attack.

“It’s vital that our services are available for those patients who need it most. That’s why we are asking our communities to think before coming to our Emergency Department and instead using other NHS services like NHS 111 online, local pharmacies, minor injury units and urgent treatment centres who are likely to be able to see you much faster. Anyone with an urgent or life-threatening condition should always call 999.”