Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) is advising people to consider their options before attending their emergency department this bank holiday weekend (27-29 May 2023).

With demand for services expected to be high, patients are being urged to use alternative NHS services including Urgent Treatment Centres, GP practices, NHS 111, walk-in-centres and pharmacies, if their condition is not life-threatening.

For injuries and non-life-threatening care people can also receive immediate care at Crawley Urgent Treatment Centre and the Minor Injury Units at Caterham Dene, Horsham and East Grinstead.

The Trust has advised that people arriving at ED over the bank holiday weekend who could be seen elsewhere, may be redirected to other NHS services or pharmacies if medically appropriate.

These alternative services are also likely to be able to give advice or see patients quicker than ED during peak periods.

People should only use 999 or East Surrey emergency department in a genuine emergency – such as if seriously ill or experiencing a life-threatening emergency.

Dr Kofi Nimako, associate medical director and respiratory consultant at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said:

“We take great pride in caring for our local community - no matter the time of year. During bank holidays we see a significant surge in the numbers coming into our emergency department, which is for urgent and life-threatening incidents only.

“If you need medical care this bank holiday and your condition is not life-threatening, please help us help you and use alternative services which could get you seen much faster such as NHS 111 online, urgent treatment centres, local pharmacies and GP practices.”

Alternative NHS services:

  • Walk-in centre – 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.
  • NHS 111 – this is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and offers further advice for patients with urgent, but not life threatening, medical needs. You can either seek immediate advice at NHS online or phone 111 to speak to a trained advisor who will point you towards the most appropriate solution for your medical inquiry.
  • Self-care – people suffering from minor ailments should treat themselves at home or visit their local pharmacy.
  • Pharmacies – your local pharmacist is qualified to offer advice on a wide range of health issues and minor conditions, as well as medication to treat headaches, an upset stomach and other common illnesses including coughs, eye infections, extreme hay fever and rashes. To find ones open in your area please visit here.

Patients who need medical advice or non-life-threatening care can also 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 MIU – Located 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.
  • East Grinstead MIU – Located at Queen Victoria Hospital, Holtye Road, East Grinstead, RH19 3DZ. Open 8am – 8pm, seven days a week. The unit is run by emergency practitioners who are well-trained and experienced specialist nurses and paramedics who are able to assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of minor injuries and ailments for both adults and children over one year old. X-ray is available for Minor Injuries Unit patients if required Monday - Friday 8.30am -5pm, Saturday 9am - 1pm and Sunday/bank holidays 10am - 1pm for adults and children over four years. On call cover is also available for emergency referrals outside of these hours.

 For advice to help prevent getting ill and self-manage minor illnesses visit the NHS website.