People needing medical help for minor inuries over the Christmas period are being urged to stay away from East Surrey Hospital’s A&E unit.
Instead, NHS bosses say people should seek help from Horsham’s Minor Injuries Unit at Horsham Hospital in Hurst Road.
They say they want to free up emergency care services for people most in need.
Said a spokesman: “Winter is expected to be extremely difficult for the NHS across the country, especially on A&E departments and GP surgeries as they cope with increasing numbers of people seeking treatment.
“To help ease this pressure on local services, the NHS is urging people with fractures and lacerations, superficial cuts and bruises, minor burns and strains to visit their local Minor Injuries Unit for treatment:
“There is no need to be a registered patient or to make an appointment to use the Minor Injuries Unit and it offers quick treatment close to home.”
If the Horsham unit is closed people can go to the Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley Hospital which is open 24 hours a day, every day over the festive period.
Local GP Dr Terry Lynch, clinical director at NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you need urgent care for a minor injury this Christmas, you can get treated quickly without an appointment at the local Minor Injuries Unit and help ease pressure on NHS emergency services and GPs.
“The NHS is doing everything it can to prepare for the extra winter pressures we expect to face, now we are calling the public to action through the HelpMyNHS campaign to ensure they access the right service for their needs at the right time.”
A website at www.sussexhelpmy.nhs.uk highlights the all the available alternatives to A&E visits or GP appointments, and has searchable listings on the most appropriate services available across Sussex to treat a range of illness and injuries.
People are also being encouraged to seek advice from their local pharmacist for ailments including colds and headaches.