NHS emergency services are there for you in emergency and life-saving situations. But many people are going to A&E with problems that are not emergencies. This makes A&E very busy and means you and other people have to wait longer for treatment.
You should go to A&E if you need immediate, emergency care and have symptoms of serious illness or injuries that could be life threatening.
NHS Choices is the biggest health website in the UK and is tried and trusted by doctors. It helps you:
- Check your symptoms to see if you need further treatment
- Better understand your health so you can stay well
- Find out what services are available if you need treatment or support
- Get advice on how to care for yourself when you do become ill or unwell
Call 111 any time day or night for advice on health problems and access to consultations with out-of-hours doctors. It’s free to call from mobiles and landlines.
Call 111 when you:
- Need medical help fast but it is not a 999 emergency
- Think you might need to go to A&E
- Don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
- Need information or reassurance about what to do next
111 advisors can:
- Give medical advice
- Put you in touch with your local out-of-hours GP service
- Refer you to a walk-in clinic
- Refer you to an emergency dentist
- Put you in touch with mental health support services
Your local GP can help with treatment and advice on many health problems and minor injuries close to home. You may not be able to get an appointment immediately but practices will be able to see you as soon as possible. Some GP surgeries are open in the evenings and sometimes at weekends, so find out what the opening times are at your local doctor next time you are there or by going to the practice website.
Out-of-hours GP service
Many GP surgeries across East Sussex are now offering extended hours – contact your local surgery for details of alternative appointments.
When your GP surgery is closed, call the NHS 111 helpline to be referred to the out-of-hours service. You can get further help or a face-to-face consultation with a GP. Locally, there are out-of-hours bases in Eastbourne, Hastings and Bexhill. You will need to call 111 first, and if you need a consultation the advisor will let you know which one is open, most locally to you.
Anyone can use a walk-in centre - you don’t need an appointment or to be registered with a GP. The service offers treatment, information and advice for a range of minor illnesses and injuries.
Your local walk-in centres are:
Eastbourne Station Health Centre 01323 726650
Station Plaza Health Centre, Hastings 01424 884410
Both centres will be open on a walk in basis on Christmas Day between 10am – 4pm.
Consultations are available seven days a week between 8am – 8pm.
Minor injuries units
Minor injuries units available to our patients are open from 8am-8pm seven days a week at Lewes, Uckfield and Crowborough community hospitals.
The centres provide assessments and treatment for a wide range of minor injuries in both adults and, in most locations, also for children please check online or with NHS 111 before travelling.
These include sprains and strains, broken bones (not hips), minor burns and scalds, insect and animal bites, minor eye injuries. X-ray facilities are available.
Uckfield Community Hospital, Framfield Road, TN22 5AW 01825 769999
Crowborough Memorial Hospital, Southview Road, TN6 1HB 01892 652284
Lewes Victoria Hospital, Nevill Road, BN7 1PE 01273 474153
Local and late-nightpharmacies
There are many local pharmacies in high streets, some supermarkets and in shopping centres. You don’t need an appointment and many are open late and at weekends.
Pharmacies do more than dispense prescriptions and medicines. Many also offer:
- Advice on bugs and viruses, minor injuries, tummy troubles, skin conditions and allergies
- Women’s health advice
- Treatment for common childhood illnesses and infections
- Health checks (blood pressure, cholesterol or blood glucose testing)
- Screening (chlamydia and allergy screenings)
- Emergency contraception
- Pregnancy testing
- Stop smoking treatment
- Weight management advice
Details of your local pharmacy and their opening times can be found on www.nhs.uk/chemist
If your own dentist cannot help or you do not have a dentist, call the NHS Dental Helpline on 0300 1231663, Monday to Friday, 8am – 4pm, for an appointment.
If you need help outside these
hours call NHS 111 or contact
the East Sussex Emergency
Eastbourne – 01323 449170
Hastings – 01424 850792
Lewes – 01273 486444
This is not a drop-in service - an appointment must be made prior to attendance. The appointment lines are live from 6.30pm – 10.30pm with appointments between 7.00pm – 9.00pm.
Minor eye conditions
In East Sussex a free NHS Minor Eye Conditions (MEC) service is available from some local opticians.
If you’ve got a problem with your eyes, such as sudden onset of blurred vision, a foreign body in the eye, flashes, floaters, redness or pain and discomfort, you can call one of the opticians that are registered with the service and arrange an appointment to go and see them. They’ll assess whether the condition is urgent or not and can sometimes treat the condition there and then, meaning you don’t have to wait to see a GP or spend unnecessary time in A&E.
Visit pecsussex.org.uk/opticians/participating-opticians/ for a list of participating opticians.
Sexual health adviceand family planning
Discreet and confidential services are available for sexual health advice and issues and family planning, including emergency contraception.
The following community based sexual health clinics offer a full range of services at their drop in sessions:
Station Plaza Health Centre, Hastings, TN34 1BA Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8:30am – 7:15pm, Wednesday 8:30am – 3:15pm, Saturday 12 noon – 3pm
Eastbourne Clinic, Avenue House, The Avenue, BN21 3XY Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8:30am – 7:15pm, Wednesday 8:30am – 3:15pm, Saturday 12 noon – 3pm
Patients can call freephone number 0808 1681282 for information on all local services available to them.
Clinics may offer a limited number of pre-bookable appointments but generally run on a drop-in basis.
Every parent or carer wants to know what to do when a child is ill - how to care for them at home, when to call a doctor and when to call emergency services.
Almost all babies, toddlers and children will get the most common childhood illnesses like chickenpox, colds, sore throats and ear infections. While these are not very nice at the time, they are easily treated by your doctor, or at home with support from a doctor or health visitor, rather than a trip to A&E.
If you are unsure what to do, you can get advice and find out what services are available on the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk) or call NHS 111
Mental health crisis support
Support services are available for people suffering from mental health problems. If you feel you are unable to keep yourself safe, or are considering attending A&E for help with your mental health, you can also call:
Sussex Mental Healthline - 0300 5000 101Monday to Friday 5pm – 9am, and 24 hours at weekends and Bank Holidays www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/sussex-mental-healthline
Samaritans - 116 123Call free for emotional support any time day or night www.samaritans.org