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Alternatives to the Emergency Department

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The emergency department

We treat patients who have suffered a recent injury or accident, or who have developed a sudden illness. All emergency departments use a priority system where the most seriously ill patients are seen first.

We may direct you somewhere else if:

  • Your nurse thinks that your condition is not an emergency.
  • You have certain symptoms which mean you need to be seen in a specialty area.

The best place for treatment

If you have been suffering from a medical problem for more than 48 hours you should first try calling your GP surgery or NHS 111 (see support section).

Other services include

  • Antenatal Day Assessment Unit.
  • Early Pregnancy Unit.
  • Gynaecology Assessment Unit.
  • Sexual health & contraception services.
  • The Sussex Eye Hospital.
  • Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Antenatal Day Assessment Unit

Women over 14 weeks pregnant with pregnancy-related problems may be referred to this unit. You can also self refer if you have any concerns about your pregnancy such as reduced baby movements, pain or bleeding.

The unit operates an appointment system so please always call first for an appointment.

Royal Sussex County Hospital: Level 11, Thomas Kemp Tower. Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm. Telephone 01273 696955 extension 4392.

Princess Royal Hospital: Antenatal Clinic, ground floor. Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm. Telephone 01444 441881 extension 5486 Appointment changes: 01444 441881 extension 8471.

For general queries during pregnancy, please contact your midwife or maternity triage for advice.

Early pregnancy unit

  • Women who are 5 to 18 weeks pregnant and in emergency may be referred to the nurse-led early pregnancy unit.
  • Royal Sussex County Hospital: 11th floor, Thomas Kemp Tower, Royal Sussex County Hospital. It is open from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, by appointment only.
  • Princess Royal Hospital: Horsted Keynes Ward, 2nd floor, Princess Royal Hospital. It is open from 8.30am to 12 midday on Monday, Wednesday, Friday by appointment only.

Gynaecology Assessment Unit

This is a specialised unit for women with an emergency gynaecological condition. It is open 24 hours a day but is not a walk-in centre: referrals are made through the on call doctor. The unit is located alongside the Early Pregnancy Unit at both sites (see above).

Sexual health services

  • The Claude Nicol Centre, based at the main RSCH site, provides confidential sexual health and contraception services. It is open to everyone and operates both a walk-in and appointment based services, with some late clinics. You will be given an appointment within 2 working days. Telephone 01273 523388.

Sussex Eye Hospital

  • Patients with an eye problem may be sent direct to the Sussex Eye Hospital. Support is available 24hrs a day but outside of normal working hours, you will be seen on Pickford Ward (2nd floor) rather than in Eye Casualty (basement).

Children’s emergencies

Children’s Emergency Department.

  • At the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Brighton, there is a separate team of children’s nurses and doctors (for children under the age of 17). They see babies, children and young people with everything from minor injuries to life threatening conditions.
  • Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5BE. Telephone 01273 696955.
  • Children arrive at the Children’s Emergency Department by ambulance, by GP referral or as a direct walk-in to the department. The Children’s Emergency Department is located on Level 6 of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital with its own dedicated entrance and ambulance bay opposite the multi-storey car park.
  • At Princess Royal, Hayward’s Heath, children can arrive only as a direct walking to the main Emergency Department, located on the ground floor of the Princess Royal Hospital. There is no separate children’s emergency department at Princess Royal.

Further support

For general medical advice please use the NHS website, the NHS 111 service, walk-in-centres, or your GP.

  • The NHS website provides online health information and guidance.
  • NHS 111 phone line offers medical help and advice from trained advisers supported by nurses and paramedics. Available 24 hours a day. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: July 2019

Review Date: January 2023

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