Accident and emergency

Non-urgent advice: Waiting times and COVID restrictions

Our accident and emergency (A&E) departments are extremely busy and you may have to wait up to 4 hours, or longer, to be seen. Patients who are critically ill or injured may be seen before you – even if they arrived after you. If your condition isn’t life-threatening you may be able to get help faster elsewhere.

COVID restrictions are in place. Please only attend A&E with a maximum of one other person supporting you (and only if absolutely necessary). Masks must be worn. Read our full Coronavirus information and advice.

Do you need emergency medical treatment?

Yes, it’s a life-threatening emergency

An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma and accidents such as a road traffic accident
Additional information about infants and children

It can be difficult to know when to call an ambulance and when to take your child to the accident and emergency department (A&E).

Call an ambulance if your child:

  • stops breathing
  • is struggling for breath (for example, you may notice them breathing fast, panting, becoming very wheezy, or see the muscles just under their ribcage sucking in when they breathe in)
  • is unconscious or seems unaware of what’s going on
  • has a cut that will not stop bleeding or is gaping open
  • will not wake up
  • has a fit for the first time, even if they seem to recover

Take your child to A&E if they:

  • have a fever and are still sluggish, despite having paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • have severe tummy (abdominal) pain
  • have a leg or arm injury and cannot use the limb
  • have swallowed a poison or tablets
Get to your nearest Children’s A&E
Child First Aid

NHS 111 can help if you’re not sure where to go

Call NHS 111 or visit 111 online. They can direct you to the nearest urgent care service, or book an appointment with an out of hours doctor. They can also book an appointment at A&E for you if it is an emergency. This may reduce your wait.

Get to your nearest A&E or call 999 for an ambulance if you need immediate help
Brighton A&E (Royal Sussex County Hospital)

Address and directions

Royal Sussex County Hospital
Eastern Road
Brighton
BN2 5BE

Telephone: +44 (0)1273 696955 A&E reception ext. 64261

Chichester A&E (St Richard’s Hospital)

Address and directions

St Richard’s Hospital
Spitalfield Lane
Chichester
West Sussex
PO19 6SE

Telephone: +44 (0)1243 788122

Haywards Heath A&E (Princess Royal Hospital)

Address and directions

Princess Royal Hospital
Lewes Road
Haywards Heath
RH16 4EX

Telephone: +44 (0)1444 441881

A&E reception: 01444 448745

Worthing Hospital A&E

Address and directions

Worthing Hospital
Lyndhurst Road
Worthing
West Sussex
BN11 2DH

Telephone: +44 (0)1903 205111

Children’s A&E
Performing First Aid

Every year in the UK, thousands of people die or are seriously injured in incidents. Many deaths could be prevented if first aid was given before emergency services arrive.

Read NHS First Aid advice for emergency situations including CPR, stroke, choking, burns, heavy bleeding, fractures and more.

What to expect at A&E
Waiting

We try to see patients in time order, but patients who are more critically ill or injured may be seen before you. We are often very busy on evenings, weekends and during winter. During these times, if your condition is not life-threatening, it is common to wait a few hours for treatment.

It may not always look busy in the waiting area. A lot of the medical help we give happens away from where you are waiting. When we have patients who are seriously ill or injured, and who may have arrived by ambulance, you won’t be able to see that we are busy.

We know that waiting is horrible, especially if you are worried, in pain or unwell. We will give you pain relief as soon as possible and see you as soon as we can.

Refreshments are available from vending machines in our hospitals. However, you may want to bring a bottle of water, snack and warm clothing with you if you have time to do this.

We still have COVID restrictions

We look after very ill and injured people. Many of our patients are also elderly or more vulnerable to catching viruses. It is a rule that anyone coming to our sites has to wear a surgical mask at all times. You must also attend alone if possible – or with one other person if you need support. Please also be mindful of hand washing and keeping at least 1m apart from others who are waiting. If you are admitted to hospital you can have one visitor for one hour per day only.

Yes, it’s not life-threatening but I need help urgently

If you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not life-threatening you can go to your nearest minor injuries unit or urgent treatment centre. They are open at least 12 hours a day (some are open 24 hours a day), every day. They deal with conditions such as:

  • sprains and strains
  • suspected broken limbs
  • minor head injuries
  • cuts and grazes
  • bites and stings
  • minor scalds and burns
  • ear and throat infections
  • skin infections and rashes
  • eye problems
  • coughs and colds
  • high temperature in child and adults
  • stomach pain
  • being sick (vomiting) and diarrhoea
  • emergency contraception
Additional information about infants and children

Minor injuries units and urgent treatment centres can deal with many of the everyday children’s ailments and accidents. It can be difficult to know when to take your child to the accident and emergency department (A&E).

Take your child to A&E if they:

  • have a fever and are still sluggish (floppy), despite having paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • have severe tummy (abdominal) pain
  • have a leg or arm injury and cannot use the limb
  • have swallowed a poison or tablets

Call an ambulance if your child:

  • stops breathing
  • is struggling for breath (for example, you may notice them breathing fast, panting, becoming very wheezy, or see the muscles just under their ribcage sucking in when they breathe in)
  • is unconscious or seems unaware of what’s going on
  • has a cut that will not stop bleeding or is gaping open
  • will not wake up
  • has a fit for the first time, even if they seem to recover

NHS 111 can help if you’re not sure where to go

Call NHS 111 or visit 111 online. They can direct you to the nearest urgent care service, or book an appointment with an out of hours doctor. They can also book an appointment at A&E for you if it is an emergency. This may reduce your wait.

Child First Aid

Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/first-aid-and-safety/first-aid/what-to-do-if-your-child-has-an-accident/ for first aid advice for burns, cuts, swallowing non-edible objects/substances and more.

Find your nearest minor injuries unit or urgent treatment centre

West Sussex

Brighton and Hove

  • Brighton Station Health Centre – open 8:00-20:00, seven days a week. You can walk in for treatment or call the service first to arrange a telephone triage with a clinician 0333 321 0946
  • Lewes Victoria Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) – open 8:00-20:00, seven days a week. You can walk in or use 111 to receive a booked arrival time.

NHS 111 can help if you’re not sure where to go

Call NHS 111 or visit 111 online. They can direct you to the nearest urgent care service, or book an appointment with an out of hours doctor. They can also book an appointment at A&E for you if it is an emergency. This may reduce your wait.

First Aid advice

The NHS A-Z of health conditions gives advice on how to treat various conditions at home before seeking medical help.

Call NHS 111 or visit NHS111 online for more advice or if you’re not sure what to do

No, but I need medical treatment

During working hours, contact your GP to make an appointment. If you aren’t registered at your local surgery, find your nearest GP

NHS 111 can help if you’re not sure where to go

Call NHS 111 or visit 111 online. They can direct you to the nearest urgent care service, or book an appointment with an out of hours doctor. They can also book an appointment at A&E for you if it is an emergency. This may reduce your wait.

Mental health support

Eye emergencies

Emergency dentists

Pharmacies

Late night pharmacies (seven days a week)

  • Ashtons Pharmacy: 01273 325020, 98 Dyke Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 3JD. Closing time: 10pm
  • Westons Pharmacy: 01273 605354, 6-7 Coombe Terrace, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4AD. Closing time: 8pm

Sexual health services

Other sources of help and advice

NHS 111 can help if you’re not sure where to go

Call NHS 111 or visit 111 online. They can direct you to the nearest urgent care service, or book an appointment with an out of hours doctor. They can also book an appointment at A&E for you if it is an emergency. This may reduce your wait.

Please treat our people with kindness and respect. We take a zero tolerance approach to violence and aggression towards our staff.