Unprecedented surge in calls to out-of-hours doctors

Hastings and Eastbourne web pictures

Hastings and Eastbourne web pictures

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Patients are reminded that GP practices across the county are open as normal today after a surge in people phoning out-of-hours GP services.

Use your normal GP practice if you are unwell and need NHS help or treatment, is the message.

It comes after this week saw an unprecedented surge in people phoning out-of-hours services.

Many of those who called did not realise their GP practice would be open this week and they could have received appropriate support there.

The only days they are closed are the bank holidays and weekends.

There is also pharmacy cover every day this week and throughout the New Year celebrations next week.

Out-of-hour GP services are available when practices are closed, for patients who cannot wait to see a doctor until their practice reopens.

However, this is an urgent service and - wherever possible - patients are asked to contact their own GP practice.

Julia Dutchman-Bailey, Chief nurse at NHS Sussex, said: “A&E and out-of-hours GP services are very busy at this time of year dealing with people who urgently need the help and treatment they provide.

“GP practices are now open as usual for the rest of this week and are only closed on New Year’s Day next week.

“They are open as usual on New Year’s Eve.

“Therefore we would urge people to be seen at their own GP practice if they are unwell wherever possible.

“NHS Walk-in centres, minor injury units and the urgent treatment centre are also open as usual this week and over New Year next week.

“Please help us keep A&E and out-of-hours GP services available for those who really need them.”

Other services available this week and over New Year:

NHS Direct - for absolutely any health question, around the clock, and to find local health services, phone NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhs.uk

Find out more about local health services in Sussex, visit www.sussex.nhs.uk