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A message from Stephen Lightfoot, Chair, NHS Sussex and Adam Doyle, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Sussex

Our aim is to achieve better health and care for all across Sussex today and in the future, and we need local people to play their part to Help Us Help You.
We want everyone to live longer, healthier, and fulfilling lives and have access to the best possible services and support when they need them. This will need both short-term action to improve and manage immediate issues and challenges, and long-term changes that will make sustainable and more wide-ranging improvements in the future.
We recognise that today health and care services are under significant pressure and this can mean that the experience of some of our patients and service users is not as good as we would want it to be.
From previous experience, we know more people will need to use services over the winter months and people’s existing conditions get worse in the cold.  In addition, we are expecting an increase in the rates of both flu and Covid, together with an impact on some people’s health and wellbeing from the current cost of living crisis.
In response, health and care organisations across our system have been working together to plan and prepare for the expected increase in need for our services this winter. This plan aims to:
Help people get urgent and emergency care as quickly as possible when they need it.
Increase the number of GP appointments available and at more times of the day.
Provide more support to older people to help them stay in their place of residence and prevent them ending up in hospital for care.
Provide more support to people considered high risk of becoming ill to prevent them getting worse, particularly those with cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.
Help prevent more people from ending up in hospital by providing more care at home, or their place of residence.
Help more people leave hospital quicker when they are well enough to return to their place of residence or go to a more appropriate place to get care.
We believe the actions we are taking will help more people get the care they need in a more timely way this winter. However, we cannot do this alone and it is important that everyone plays a part in helping us to make sure everyone gets the care and support they need.
We are asking all Sussex residents to Help Us Help You this winter by using services appropriately to ensure everyone gets the right care at the right time for their needs. We are also asking people to take responsibility for their own health and wellness by making healthy lifestyle choices whenever possible, getting your vaccinations for Covid and flu if eligible and asking for support only when you need it.
Throughout this winter, we will continue to speak directly with local people across Sussex, seeking feedback and ideas to help us improve our services here and now, and we will be communicating frequently to ensure people have the information they need to make the right choices. This builds on the engagement we have already carried out and a summary of what we heard from the public and our response can be read here.
As well as focusing on the here and now, we also need local people to help us shape health and care for the long-term future. Health and care organisations and other partners with an interest and influence on health and care are now working closer together and in a more joined up way as part of an Integrated Care System (ICS). You can watch this short film to hear more about our ambitions.
We know the solutions to many of the issues and improvements we want to make can only be done by working collectively as a partnership with all public, voluntary and community organisations to make the improvements needed for the people we serve. However, we cannot do everything at once and it is important that we are very focused on what we do and when to make sure we get the maximum benefit.
To help us achieve this, we are developing an ‘Integrated Care Strategy’ for Sussex that will set out the ambitions that will bring the biggest benefit and positive change for our population.
We will also continue talking to our communities to make sure these ambitions are the right ones for our population and will bring the biggest benefits. We will be doing this through public meetings and events. Visit our get involved section for more information on what we will be doing and how you can take part.
By working together with our partners and communities, we will be able to achieve better health and care for all now and in the future across Sussex.
Stephen Lightfoot, Chair, NHS Sussex
Adam Doyle, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Sussex
News article posted on 6 October 2022