Visiting restrictions - essential visitors only

To help us keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, stop the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) and keep our hospitals running, we are restricting visiting to essential visitors only – click here for more information

Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Help us to help you

To help support our staff, please do not visit our hospitals, clinics or community facilities if you feel unwell, especially if you have either a high temperature or a new, continuous cough or loss or change in your normal sense of smell or taste.

We know that this is a worrying time for our local communities and we want to reassure members of the public that the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff is our absolute priority. We have robust plans and procedures to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.

The latest information about Covid-19 can be found on the NHS Website and the Government’s website.

Government advice is to stay at home if you develop a:

  • a new continuous cough OR
  • high temperature OR
  • loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste

NHS 111 has an online Covid-19 service that can tell you if you need medical help and advice on what to do. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home. Use the NHS 111 online Covid-19 service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Changes we have made in response to Covid19

Increased our Critical Care Capacity

We have already doubled our normal critical care capacity, and our aim is to ultimately have five times our normal capacity. This involves expanding critical care into theatres and recovery areas.

Relocated our Chemotherapy Services

To minimise the risks to our cancer patients, we have temporarily moved chemotherapy and infusion care to East Sussex College in Eastbourne. This change in location means that we can safely deliver treatment to cancer patients away from the main hospital.

Created discharge hubs

Our new seven-day Discharge Hubs are supporting the rapid discharge of patients as soon as it is clinically safe to do so. Working with local partners we have significantly reduced the numbers of medically fit for discharge patients in our hospitals.

Relocated all our Maternity services to Conquest Hospital

We have temporarily suspended the homebirth service and Eastbourne Midwifery Unit (EMU) service. All deliveries will be in the Obstetric Unit at Conquest Hospital, Hastings. A key factor in making this decision is that the ambulance service is under considerable pressure, and could not guarantee a timely response to calls in an emergency. This presented an unacceptable risk to mothers and their babies. The obstetric unit at Conquest has a dedicated entrance door so that there is no need for mothers to go through the hospital.

We have cancelled non-urgent operations and procedures

We have cancelled all non-urgent operations and procedures to free up clinical areas and clinicians to help treat Covid-19 patients. We understand the frustration this will cause many people and their procedure will be rebooked at a later date. We will continue to perform urgent and emergency procedures with some taking place in other facilities away from the main hospitals. Cancer treatment continues with close attention being paid to referral and treatment volumes to make sure that cancer cases continue to be identified, diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

We have increased the number of telephone outpatient appointments

Some appointments have moved to a telephone conversation with the hope that we will soon be able to offer some video appointments in the future.

We have introduced visiting restrictions

To help us keep our patients, staff and visitors safe, stop the spread Covid-19 and keep our hospitals running, we have had to put strict restrictions on visitors. Please see visiting restrictions.

We have speeded up our recruitment processes

Our recruitment process for new employees is being fast tracked to allow more clinical staff to start working on the wards sooner than would normally be the case. We are also contacting all members of staff with lapsed or current healthcare registration who do not currently work in clinical roles and are offering training so that they can support frontline care.

Staff training

Additional training is being provided to a wide range of clinical staff such as HCAs, staff nurses, matrons, junior doctors of all grades and senior clinicians. For example, intensive Care consultants are providing training for members of clinical staff who might be required to support patients requiring ventilation.


We appreciate the significant numbers of people who have offered to volunteer to help us. It is important that we find suitable roles that are safe and most helpful. Please bear with us while we work to make the appropriate arrangements.