Introducing the Mr Hastings and St Leonards project

Research shows that life expectancy for men in Hastings and St Leonards is significantly lower than the national average. There have been many great initiatives across the borough that have made a real difference to individual men’s health and wellbeing. However, this hasn’t changed the bigger picture around men’s life expectancy locally.

To help address this, an innovative project has started working alongside local men in Hastings and St Leonards. The Mr Hastings and St Leonards project aims to: Continue reading

Spring Covid-19 boosters are coming soon to help those most at risk stay protected

This spring, people who are at highest risk of severe illness are being offered the chance to top up their immunity with a spring COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Like some other vaccines, levels of protection may decline over time. Boosters are offered to help you maintain strong protection from becoming seriously ill or needing to go to hospital if you catch COVID-19.

The spring booster will be offered to everyone aged 75 years and over, residents in care homes for older adults and people aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed. Eligible individuals will be offered the vaccine around 6 months after their previous dose.

The spring COVID-19 booster vaccinations are due to start from early April, with older adult care homes and house bound patients followed by other eligible cohorts as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

You will be invited for your booster, your GP may offer you the vaccine or you can book using the NHS app or the national booking system from mid-April.

The vaccination will be available through a mixture of walk-in and booked appointments at pharmacies and GP practices.

Measles – are you and your child protected?

About measles

Measles is an infection that spreads very easily and can cause serious problems in some people, and as you may have seen in the news, cases are rising in England. Having the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent it.

Measles usually starts with cold-like symptoms, followed by a rash a few days later. Some people may also get small spots in their mouth. Measles symptoms to be aware of include:

  • high fever
  • sore, red, watery eyes
  • coughing
  • aching and feeling generally unwell
  • a blotchy red brown rash, which usually appears after the initial symptoms

If you or your child has these symptoms and haven’t been vaccinated, stay at home and phone your GP or NHS 111, rather than visiting the GP or A&E.

Making sure you’re protected

The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine.

We urge you to check that your children are vaccinated, and that you are too. Your GP practice should be able to check whether you’ve had both doses. You may also be able to access your vaccination record online through GP online services.

Some people worry that vaccinations aren’t safe, and years ago there were stories suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. But all medical authorities worldwide agree that this is not true, and that there is no risk or link. But there IS a risk of not vaccinating.

For more information on measles you can visit the NHS website,  or watch the following videos:

How to get help with your mental health

Get help today

If you feel like you can’t cope and are at breaking point, you can get same-day or next day help for your mental health by:

  • Calling NHS 111 and selecting the mental health option (available 24/7)
  • Calling the Samaritans on 116 123 (available 24/7)
  • Texting the word SUSSEX to 85258 (available 24/7)
  • Visiting a Staying Well service (available in Eastbourne and Hastings, evenings and weekends).  Visit Southdown Staying Well Space or phone 0800 023 6475 for queries or to discuss a referral.

If your life – or someone else’s life – is in immediate danger, please call 999.

Make an appointment

If you’re worried about your mental health, e.g., you are feeling anxious or depressed or there are things going on in your life that are affecting your mental wellbeing, please make an appointment with your GP.

If you’d like to get treatment for symptoms of anxiety or depression, you can refer yourself to your local Talking Therapies service (previously known as IAPT). In East Sussex this service is called Health in Mind: visit the Health in Mind website.

Other ways to get help with your mental health

For a full list of mental health services and support in East Sussex, visit the East Sussex Mental Health Directory.


Are you over 50 and looking for something new to do?

If you’re over 50 and looking for something new to do, then joining your nearest older people’s forum could be for you. There are forums across the county and they’re a great way to find out about local events, socials, and activities. They’re also a way to learn more about health and social care, as well as helping to influence the work of the local NHS and East Sussex County Council. Even better, they’re free, easy to join, and you can choose how much to get involved! Continue reading

Get inspired to get active in 2024

Being more physically active has been compared to a wonder drug because of the huge range of benefits it offers to everyone, no matter your age, state of health, or disability. Getting more active can help to control weight, reduce the risk of serious diseases like cardiac problems and diabetes, and improve your mood and sleep.

That’s why the Public Health team at East Sussex County Council, in partnership with Active Sussex and other partners across the county, have launched the #GettingEastSussexMoving social media campaign. The campaign highlights and celebrates a range of support to get active, as well as the wonderful locations to get moving across our county.

The campaign began in September 2023 and is running for a year. Each month has a different theme to encourage and motivate you to try different activities and inspire you to get moving more.

Themes so far have included: Continue reading

What’s the latest advice from the NHS on COVID-19?

COVID-19 is still circulating in our communities, so it’s still important to take steps to protect yourself, to know the symptoms to look out for, what to do if you get unwell, and the services available if you have longer term symptoms.

It’s a good idea to take a look at all the latest information on COVID-19 on the NHS website, but here’s an overview on some of the key advice: Continue reading

Breaking ground for new mental health hospital in Bexhill

A ground breaking ceremony took place on Tuesday 30 January on the site of a new mental health hospital in Bexhill, marking a major milestone for local NHS services.

At the same time, the 54-bed hospital on Mount View Street, Bexhill, was officially named Combe Valley – a name chosen by staff and service users.

Combe Valley Hospital has been developed by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SPFT) alongside NHS Sussex, the Integrated Care Board for Sussex, supported by significant input from local service users and staff.

Opening its doors during 2025, the new hospital will provide modern, high-quality care for people who may be experiencing serious mental health problems, emotional crisis, or severe distress which cannot be treated in the community. Continue reading

Integrated service celebrates 10 years of supporting people’s independence

The Joint Community Rehabilitation team (JCR) has been celebrating their 10-year anniversary and taking a look back over what the service has achieved since it formed a decade ago.

This integrated service brings together NHS staff from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and adult social care staff from East Sussex County Council into three teams across the county. They support adults who need short term support to regain their independence while remaining at home, for example by improving their strength and mobility or relearning skills after a hospital stay or illness. The teams include a wide range of professionals, like occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, social care workers, and rehabilitation support workers.

JCR forged a close working relationship between adult social care and the NHS several years before the formation of Integrated Care Systems, working in collaboration with a variety of community and hospital services.

JCR support approximately 10,000 clients a year. Here are some comments from former clients:

Continue reading

Your top stories of 2023

As the year comes to a close we’ve taken a look back at our most read newsletter stories of the year, here they are if you’d like to revisit them!

A royal knees-up

In third place, hundreds of you were keen to read about the royal coronation events in East Sussex to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III.  From street parties and garden parties to Brit-Pop and crown decorating workshops, there was a huge range of events taking place. Social interaction is a great way to lift our mood and boost our wellbeing, which is a real positive for our health, so we hope you enjoyed the events.

Free forums for the over 50’s

On the theme of socialising and engaging in your community, our second most popular story was how you could join your nearest Older People’s Forum. There are eight forums in the county which are free to join and open to anyone over 50. The Forums are a perfect way to meet people, find out about activities, attend Older People’s Day events, or to just be better informed about issues that impact you, such as health and social care. The forums are always open to new members so it’s not too late to join if you’re interested: Get engaged in your community by joining an Older People’s Forum in your area.

A new state of the art diagnostic centre

And finally, our most popular story this year was the launch of the exciting new Community Diagnostic Centre in Bexhill, a state-of-the-art centre open 7 days a week. The centre offers a range of diagnostic and outpatient treatments that would normally be carried out in hospital. Services available at the centre include cardiac diagnostics, x-rays, echo-ECGs, ultrasound, lung function and phlebotomy, as well as MRI and CT scans on a rotational basis. You can watch a fascinating video about the work of the centre and how it’s reducing waiting times here: Bexhill Community Diagnostic Centre.

If you haven’t signed up to our monthly e-newsletter yet, you can subscribe on the County Council website.