A HOSPITAL has been made into a "cancer hub" to help support patients amid stretched services due to Omicron.

Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead has been turned into a cancer hub to ensure vital support and operations for cancer patients across Sussex can continue.

It is part of the NHS Sussex's "surge plan" to ensure patients are cared for and staff are supported amid significant pressures due to high rates of Covid.

These pressures have resulted in a number of people requiring hospital admission, and high and unpredictable sickness rates across the health and care workforce.

With the addition of the increase in demand that is usually experienced at this time of year, it means all services are extremely busy and actions are now needing to take place.

Some routine and non-urgent appointments and operations have needed to be rescheduled in the safest possible way to allow the NHS to focus on caring for the sickest patients.

The "surge plan" also includes:

  • Supporting patients with Covid to safely remain at home to prevent them needing to be admitted to hospital.
  • Increasing the number of people who are discharged from hospital safely.
  • Using all available space and beds within hospitals.
  • Providing support for mental health patients so they can be cared for in the most appropriate environment.

These actions are being taken alongside the ongoing vaccination programme, so far, over one million people have received their booster vaccination across Sussex and those who have not received their jab are being urged to come forward.

The NHS is asking people to "help us help you" and take the following actions:

  • Use the right services for your needs at the right time
  • Save emergency services for saving lives
  • Be patient with our staff, they are trying to keep people safe
  • To get your vaccines to protect yourself against Covid and flu
  • Follow public health advice to protect you and others from Covid-19

Allison Cannon, chief nurse for the Sussex NHS Commissioners, said: “We are now seeing the effects of Omicron across health and care system and this is a crucial time for everyone.

"We are taking action to make sure people get the best possible care and we need everyone to play their part.

“We need people to use services in the most appropriate way to allow us to be able to care for them as well as others.

"We also need people to protect themselves against Covid by having their vaccination.”

NHS Sussex says people should not delay in coming forward with any health concerns and should contact their GP or phone 111 for 24/7 medical help and advice, use pharmacies, and urgent treatment centres in the communities for urgent issues.