A warning is being sounded by NHS managers that non-emergency medical operations scheduled to take place at East Surrey Hospital may have to be cancelled.
The alert is being issued following large numbers of people seeking emergency medical help at the hospital’s A&E unit.
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust says it is ‘currently experiencing a high number of attendances to our emergency department and patients might have heard today in the national media that the NHS may need to cancel appointments in order to cope with this emergency pressure.’
Trust chief executive Michael Wilson said: “We are continuing to schedule those patients that are clinically very urgent but we are reviewing this daily, if the current pressure continues, it is possible that we will have to reduce our planned elective work further although clearly we are working to avoid this.
“We will communicate with patients as soon as possible if their planned operation or appointment needs to be cancelled.
“Unless we contact you, patients with planned operations and appointments should attend as normal.
“The hospital continues to be very busy and we want to thank all of our staff and colleagues in the community who continue to work hard to make sure all patients receive the care they need.”
The trust stresses that A&E is for ‘serious or life-threatening emergencies only’ and that there are a range of local NHS services available at walk-in centres where medical staff can deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected broken bones.
Full details of walk-in centres can be found on the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust website: www.surreyandsussex.nhs.uk
The trust runs East Surrey Hospital in Redhill and provides a range of services at hospitals in Crawley, Horsham and Caterham and at The Earlswood Centre and Oxted Health Centre.
It has a growing catchment population of 535,000 residents in east Surrey and north east West Sussex and is the designated hospital for Gatwick Airport and the local M25 and M23 motorway network.
The trust employs around 4,000 staff and has an annual budget of £323m.