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The county-wide critical incident has been stepped down across the NHS in Sussex.

NHS services will remain in “business continuity”. This means many additional measures remain in place but that planned procedures and appointments will start to run as usual.

Declaring a critical incident allows the NHS to take additional steps to the way services are managed so we can maintain safety for our patients and help staff manage the growing pressures we are experiencing. This includes focusing workforce on areas where most needed, asking some staff to come back from annual leave to work, and using all capacity possible across the health system.

Help us to help you by using health services wisely and playing your part in supporting your local NHS by: 

  • thinking very carefully about choosing the most appropriate NHS service for your needs and to only using 999 and A&E departments for serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain, severe bleeding or breathing difficulties
  • collecting family and friends from hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged, and to support the discharge process to available community beds, to allow acute hospital beds to be freed up for those who need them most
  • staying away from our hospitals if you have symptoms of flu or COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, unless it is an emergency
  • keeping yourself protected and boosting your immunity with COVID-19 and flu vaccinations if you are eligible

Know what services are available to you and how to use them in the most appropriate way:

NHS 111

Visit for help and advice (for issues for people over 5 years old) or call 111 free of charge when you can't wait to see your doctor, or you need help but don't know where to go. This is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Your call will be answered as quickly as possible but you may need to wait in a queue before talking to someone, or the call handler may arrange a call back with a clinician depending on your needs

Your GP surgery

Some practices are offering appointments on Saturday 31 December. To check the arrangements at your practice, check the surgery website or give them a call


Lots of pharmacies are open over the Bank Holiday weekend for treatment and advice for minor illnesses. Check your local pharmacy opening hours

Urgent Treatment Centres (UTC), Minor Injuries Units (MIU) or Walk-in Centres

Most UTCs, MIUs and Walk-in Centres are open over the Bank Holiday weekend if you need urgent care but it's not an emergency, for things like sprains, burns and suspected minor fractures. Check where your local UTC and MIU is here

Mental health crisis support

If you or someone you know needs help for mental health support and is in crisis, call the Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309500 or text SUSSEX to 85258 for a free, confidential chat. These services are available 24 hours, 7 days a week

Only dial 999 or visit A&E if:

It is a serious or life-threatening emergency such as chest pain, severe bleeding or breathing difficulties