Help the NHS get your loved ones home this winter


Our local hospitals are very busy and their teams are working hard to make sure everyone can receive the best possible care.

In the past couple of weeks, we have seen more people at our local A&E departments than ever before, and there continues to be an increase in the number of people admitted needing medical attention.

To make sure everyone can receive the help and support they need, the NHS in East Surrey and Sussex is working together to make sure that patients spend no longer than they need to in hospital.

Our #HelpMyNHS campaign provides information about where you can access NHS help and advice over the festive season via a dedicated website . It also offers help and tips on how everyone can #HelpMyGP and #HelpMyA&E and use services appropriately and take steps to stay well.

Dr Laura Hill said: “The NHS is doing everything it can with the resources it has to deal with the extra pressures we are facing. Now, #HelpMyNHS is calling on the public to play their part by adopting small behavioural changes to ease pressures on local health and care services, saving them for those in the most need.

“We’re asking the people of Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex to save A&E for saving lives and make the most of our urgent treatment centre in Crawley Hospital and local minor injury units at Horsham and East Grinstead for urgent but non-life threatening concerns. At this very busy time, we’re also requesting you ensure you use GP appointments properly and take steps to help prevent getting ill and self-manage minor illnesses, as well as using alternative services, such as pharmacists who can dispense health advice as well as offer private consultations.

“We recognise that sometimes it’s not always easy to decide where to go for the right care, at the right time, and that’s when the telephone advice line 111, run by medical professionals, can assist you.”

The call to #HelpMyNHS comes as the local NHS also runs the Let’s Get You Home initiative supports people to return home quickly and safely, or if this is not possible, to move to an alternative setting, such as a care home or a community rehabilitation bed, once treatment in hospital is complete.

This will help our local hospitals have beds available for people who need them, especially through the winter when more people are ill or have accidents.

It will involve staff having earlier conversations with patients – usually within 24 hours of being admitted – about how they will leave hospital and being given clear information about the options available.

Hospital staff and local council adult services teams will be working more closely with each other to ensure patients have the care and support they need to return home or go to an alternative setting if they can’t go home).

There will also be more assessments on people’s long-term care needs taking place in their own homes, where they can be assessed more accurately, rather than in hospital.

All of this is aimed to help people to recover better outside of a hospital when they are well enough to leave. There is good evidence to show that patients recover better away from hospital. For example, ten days of bed rest in hospital leads to the equivalent of 10 years ageing in the muscles of people over 80. Patients may also become used to hospital life, leaving them less confident to manage in their own homes. In addition, hospitals work hard to prevent infections but can’t eliminate the risk of a patient catching one which they may be ill-equipped to resist.