NHS urges local people to ‘help us to help you’

Local people have been urged to play their part in helping the NHS to give the best possible care as the Omicron variant continues to have an impact on services across Sussex.

The NHS across the country is currently experiencing significant pressures due to the high rates of Omicron within our local communities, resulting in a number of people requiring hospital admission, and high and unpredictable sickness rates across the health and care workforce.

With the addition of the increase in demand on services that is usually experienced at this time of year, it means all services across the local health and care system are extremely busy and addition actions are now needing to take place.

Some routine and non-urgent appointments and operations have needed to be rescheduled in the safest possible way to allow the NHS to focus on caring for the sickest patients. And a ‘surge plan’ is now in place that aims to ensure patients are cared for and staff are supported in the best possible way. This includes:

  • Supporting patients with Covid to safely remain at home to prevent them needing to be admitted to hospital.
  • Increasing the number of people who are discharged from hospital safely.
  • Using all available space and beds within hospitals.
  • Stepping up Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead as a cancer hub to continue to provide vital support and operations for cancer patients across the area.
  • Providing support for mental health patients so they can be cared for in the most appropriate environment.

These actions are being taken alongside the ongoing vaccination programme, which continues to deliver potentially life-saving protection to thousands of people every day. So far, over one million people have received their booster vaccination across Sussex and those who have not received their jab are being urged to come forward to get theirs as soon as possible to prevent them becoming ill in the coming weeks.

People are being urged to also play their part in helping the NHS provide the best possible services during this extremely busy time. The NHS is asking people to Help Us Help You and take the following actions:

  • Use the right services for your needs at the right time
  • Save emergency services for saving lives
  • Be patient with our staff, they are trying to keep people safe
  • To get your vaccines to protect yourself against COVID and flu
  • Follow public health advice to protect you and others from COVID-19

Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse for the Sussex NHS Commissioners, said: “We are now seeing the effects of Omicron across health and care system and this is a crucial time for everyone. We are taking action to make sure people get the best possible care and we need everyone to play their part.

“We need people to use services in the most appropriate way to allow us to be able to care for them as well as others. We also need people to protect themselves against Covid by having their vaccination.”

People should not delay in coming forward with health concerns, and anyone with an urgent, persistent or worrying health concern should contact their GP practice in the normal way. People should also phone 111 for 24/7 medical help and advice, use pharmacies, and urgent treatment centres in the communities for urgent issues.