NHS Sussex said it is currently seeing large numbers of people needing care in A&E departments, calling NHS 111, accessing GP services and calling 999.
The health service reported that it is also seeing increasing numbers of people hospitalized with flu and covid, along with high levels of staff illness.
“All of this is putting a significant demand on services, which means patients are expecting more than we would like to be seen and treated,” a spokesperson said.
“Declaring a critical incident allows us to take additional steps in the way services are managed so that we can maintain the safety of our patients and help staff manage the increasing pressures we are experiencing.
“This includes focusing the workforce on areas where it is most needed, asking some staff members to return from their annual vacation to work, and using as much capacity as possible across the healthcare system.”
The health service said this means some non-urgent operations, treatments and outpatient appointments will be rescheduled to accommodate those patients with the most urgent clinical need. Patients will be contacted to reschedule their procedures as soon as possible.
Cancer patients and the most urgent procedures will continue to be prioritized.
Essential services remain fully open to anyone in need over the New Years period and anyone with an appointment for the next few days should attend unless contacted to say otherwise.
The public has been urged to “play their part” by taking the following steps:
- Think carefully about choosing the most appropriate NHS service for your needs and only use departments 999 and A&E for serious or life-threatening emergencies such as chest pain, heavy bleeding or difficulty breathing.
- Pick up family and friends from the hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged to allow acute hospital beds to be freed up for those who need them most.
- Be prepared and make sure you stock up on over-the-counter medications and collect refills before the bank holiday.
- Stay away from hospitals if you have flu or Covid symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, unless it is an emergency.
- Stay protected and boost immunity with Covid-19 and flu vaccines if eligible.
Where to get help
- NHS 111 – Visit 111.nhs.uk for help and advice (for problems for people aged five and over) or call 111 free of charge when you can’t wait to see your doctor, or if you need help but don’t know where. to carry out. This is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- Some GP practices offer appointments on December 31.
- Many pharmacies are open over the holiday weekend for treatment and advice of minor illnesses.
- Urgent Treatment Centers (UTCs), Minor Injury Units (MIUs), or Outpatient Care Centers: Most UTCs, MIUs, and Outpatient Care Centers are open over the holiday weekend if you need urgent care, but it is not an emergency, for things like sprains. , burns and suspected minor fractures.
- Mental Health Crisis Support – If you or someone you know needs help with mental health support and is in crisis, please call Sussex Mental Healthline on 0800 0309500 or text SUSSEX on 85258 for a free and confidential chat . These services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the New Year period.
- Only dial 999 or visit A&E if it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, such as chest pain, heavy bleeding, or trouble breathing.
NHS Sussex Director of Nursing, Allison Cannon, said: “Our priority is always the safety of our patients and staff, so we have made a system-wide decision to act quickly ahead of the New Year Bank Holiday weekend to declare a critical incident due to the current situation. Extreme pressure services are experiencing.
“This will help us ensure that patients receive the best possible care during this time and provide greater support to staff.
“The NHS remains there for you if you need it and essential services remain open over the bank holiday weekend. However, it is crucial that you seek help from the services best suited to your needs and that you only use emergency services such as 999 and A&E for emergencies.”