People across Sussex are being urged to stop and think before attending A&E this Christmas.
Everyone is being reminded they should only go to A&E if there is a genuine emergency.
Hospitals across the county are currently seeing large numbers of people attending their Accident and Emergency departments, are admitting more people than is expected for this time of year, and are expecting the number of people needing treatment to rise even further over the festive period.
Dr Andrew Foulkes, Medical Director at NHS Sussex, said, “Every winter there is a rise in the number of people who become unwell and need medical help and treatment.
“We need to make sure that emergency services are available for those who really need them and so while the local NHS works hard to make sure everyone receives the right treatment and support, people across the county need to remember that A&E is an Emergency Department and should be used for very serious and life threatening illnesses and injuries.
“It is important that we all know when to call an ambulance and when to use A&E and when not to.
“The teams at A&E are there for patients and their families whenever there is an emergency. It is important that we know that some conditions and common ailments such as coughs, colds and earaches do not need to be treated at hospital and can be dealt with by GPs.”