30 March 2016

People urged to choose the right service as NHS faces huge demand

People who need healthcare support across East Sussex are being urged to choose the right service as the local NHS faces huge demand.

NHS emergency and urgent care services across the county are experiencing major spikes in demand, with significant increases in people attending A&E and ringing for an ambulance. GP services and walk-in-centres at Eastbourne Station and Station Plaza, Hastings, have also been extremely busy.

NHS services across the region are working together to provide the best care possible for all patients that need help during this time of unprecedented demand, while stressing the importance of the public choosing the most appropriate service for their condition.

Dr Martin Writer, Eastbourne GP and chair of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford Clinical Commissioning Group / Dr Roger Elias, Bexhill GP and chair of Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There is no doubt that local NHS services – our hospitals and local GP practices – are under extreme pressure at the moment and we really need the public to help by making the right choices when they or their loved ones fall ill.

“The vast majority of minor illnesses and injuries are able to be treated successfully at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet or with advice from your local pharmacist. We also urge people with minor illness or injury to call NHS 111 for advice, use the online NHS symptom checker or download our local Health Help Now app.

“It must be stressed that A&E and 999 are for emergencies – if it’s not an emergency, other services are available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People often think that visiting their local A&E or calling 999 is their only option when their GP surgery is closed, but this is not the case. There are lots of services that offer treatment and advice in the evenings and at the weekend, including local pharmacists, walk in centres, NHS 111 and out-of-hours GP services.”

Dr David Hughes, Medical Director at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Conquest and Eastbourne District General Hospitals are here to help anyone who needs urgent assessment and care; and we continue to provide that round the clock. Over the past few days we have seen unprecedented pressures on our services, particularly in the Emergency Departments and those needing urgent admission. We therefore need to make sure that our hospital beds and resources are saved for those who need them most.”

“Due to the pressures we are facing, we are appealing to the public to think carefully about whether they need to visit A&E. You can really help us by taking the appropriate action to treat your condition, which might mean speaking to your pharmacist, calling NHS 111, contacting your GP or , walk-in centre. Better use of all the available services will help to ensure that we are able to treat those patients whose need is greatest. Our staff are working extremely hard to maintain these services and are to be commended during this difficult time.”