Do you want to make a difference? Would you like to help promote the health of local people?

We are seeking volunteers to become Flu Champions to help the NHS in Sussex raise awareness of the flu vaccination.

Flu Champions are part of an exciting new way of helping the NHS in Sussex communicate about the flu vaccine and combat myths on the vaccine.

We are looking for 20 members of the public from ethnically diverse communities, and people who live in Bognor Regis, Crawley, Eastbourne, Hastings, Hangleton, Littlehampton, Moulsecoomb, Newhaven, Peacehaven & Whitehawk.

Flu Champions receive expenses and a £20 Amazon Voucher will also be given for undertaking the role for three months, which is payable when you let us know what you have been doing as part of your role.

Flu Champions will be asked to attend one 2.5 hour session on either the following dates:

  • 8th December 2020 at 10.30 am – 12 pm
  • 14th December 2020 at 12.30 pm – 3 pm

For further information and how to apply, please visit the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website. Please submit your application by Tuesday 1st December 2020.

Your invitation to race inequality webinars

In response to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on people from ethnic minority backgrounds, Diversity Resource International and Sussex Health and Care Partnership are co-designing and delivering a series of four webinars. The sessions aim to encourage discussion around tackling inequalities in health, social care, employment and education.

The webinars are:

  • Wednesday 28 October, 6pm – 8pm: Access to health and social care, plus celebrating Black History Month
  • Thursday 3 December, 6pm – 8pm: Employment opportunities and promotion
  • Wednesday 13 January, 6pm – 8pm: Access to mental health and wellbeing
  • Thursday 25 February, 6pm – 8pm: Black Lives Matter in education

Listen to life stories from Sussex-based communities and inspirational keynote speakers. Speak directly to senior health, social care and education professionals, and be inspired by creative and artistic celebrations from prominent poets and young authors.

To reserve your place and find out more, please email:


Quit smoking this Stoptober

Smokers in East Sussex are being urged to join the 1 million across the UK who quit during the coronavirus lockdown and stop smoking during Stoptober.

The annual stop smoking challenge returns this October, and smokers across the county are being encouraged to put their lungs first, strengthen their immune system and breathe easier by giving quitting a go.

Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, tailored support is available through your local stop smoking service provided by One You East Sussex (OYES). OYES are currently offering help and advice through telephone appointments, which can be just as effective as face to face sessions when it comes to helping people quit.

Darrell Gale, East Sussex Director of Public Health, said: “If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you.

“Smokers generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and experiencing more severe symptoms. Stopping smoking can significantly improve your health in ways you might not expect, including for people with an existing smoking-related disease.

“Stoptober is the ideal time to get the help required so you can kick the habit, and with the free support offered by One You East Sussex you are four times more likely to quit for good.”

The OYES team can provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy, and a Facebook support group has been set up where smokers can engage with others, ask advisors questions and support one another through the campaign. In addition, a dedicated email campaign will provide information to help smokers who relapse, as well as offer encouragement and highlight the benefits experienced during the first month to six weeks after quitting.

While official figures show smoking rates in East Sussex have been declining, 13.7 per cent of adults in the county still smoke. Across East Sussex, smoking rates are highest in Hastings where 20.3 per cent of adults smoke, which is significantly higher than the England average of 14.5 per cent.

Wealden has the lowest estimated smoking rate of 10.1 per cent of adults lighting up, and the percentage of smokers in Rother (12.5 per cent), Lewes (13.2 per cent) and Eastbourne (14.2 per cent) are also below the national average. However, despite these lower than average figures, there were still just under 1,000 deaths annually attributable to smoking in East Sussex in the three years between 2016-2018.

Stopping smoking has immediate and lasting benefits to health. After 20 minutes the pulse rate starts to return to normal; after 8 hours harmful carbon monoxide in the blood is reduced by half and is completely flushed out by the body after 48 hours. After 1 year the risk of suffering a heart attack has halved compared to that of a smoker. And research suggests that people who have quit for a year are happier than those who continue to smoke.

Get your personal quit plan by visiting the One You East Sussex website, emailing the team at or calling 01323 404600.

Take part in the Big Debate

The NHS and local authorities in Sussex would like to know about your experiences of health and care during the Covid-19 pandemic, so that we can improve the way services are provided in the future. Over the last few months we’ve been asking for your views on a range of topics as part of the Big Health and Care (Socially Distanced) Conversation. Next, in the ‘Big Debate’, we’re talking about:

Delayed care: Have you been affected by delays to your care, either because your appointment or treatment was delayed or postponed or because you decided to wait until the pandemic had eased before having your treatment or appointment? Visit the website to tell us about your experiences and any decisions or changes you have made as a result.

Wellbeing: Since the lockdown period due to Covid-19 began, people have made many changes to their lives and what they saw as “normal”. We would like to know more about the changes you made due to Covid-19, whether you think they are good for your wellbeing or not.

  • What have you stopped doing since the start of lockdown? (for example, you might have stopped travelling to work, smoking, or stopped eating healthily due to changing your routine)
  • What have you started doing since the start of lockdown? (For example, you might have started taking daily exercise, reading more, or eating more chocolate!)

What do you feel about these changes?  Will there be things you will carry on?  How has the easing of lockdown rules affected you? Visit the website to share your experiences.

Building for our Future: Have your say about ESHT’s exciting new development plans

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) has launched the first details of its redevelopment plans for Conquest Hospital, Hastings; Eastbourne DGH and Bexhill and is asking local people to have their say about what they want from the redevelopment of our hospitals.

These extensive plans over the next decade will leave no part of the hospital infrastructure left untouched. ESHT are aiming to provide a new hospital at Eastbourne; new medical wards and refurbishment at Conquest and a new clinical building at Bexhill.

Alongside creating additional inpatient wards and improved parking facilities, ESHT’s plans include expanding the emergency departments at Eastbourne and Hastings, improving access to cardiology and ophthalmology services, and redeveloping outpatient, theatres, endoscopy and diagnostic services.

This follows a Government announcement earlier this year, and recently confirmed, that the Trust would be part of the second phase of government funding which could see over £600m invested in the Trust. Over £5million has been committed to develop plans for the three ageing hospitals. A further £6million of funding has been received to start enabling works to help progress these developments.

Launching the ‘have your say’ project, Joe Chadwick-Bell, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted with the recent announcement that ESHT has been chosen to be part of the second phase of the Health Infrastructure Plan. This is an once-in-a-lifetime investment that will transform our hospitals at Eastbourne, Hastings and Bexhill and help us to provide better care now, and in the future.”

“This is a real testament to the improvements that we have made over the last five years and confidence that the Government has in ESHT. Whilst an investment on this scale is substantial we want to work with members of our staff, partners, patients and local people to prioritise where this money is needed most or where it will make the biggest difference. You can help us develop our thinking and we will use this information to develop the plans that we will submit to the Government early next year.”

“We are at the start of what will be a lengthy process and our plans will be developed and finessed over time but this investment is very significant. These are truly exciting times for healthcare in East Sussex as we plan and build for our future.”

You can have your say by visiting:

Chris Hodgson, Director of Estates and Facilities, said “The changes we are planning are extensive. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform how healthcare is provided for local people in East Sussex by investing in the hospital infrastructure at Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne. By creating new and improved health and wellbeing settings we are making a commitment to provide access to high quality care that ensures improved health outcomes for local people.”

Enhanced NHS111 service launches for Kent, Medway and Sussex

The NHS111 service in Kent, Medway and Sussex is being enhanced and you can expect a more robust response with the same expert advice, now delivered by a wider range of healthcare professionals.

GPs, paramedics, nurses, mental health professionals, dental nurses and pharmacists will be part of the enhanced NHS111 clinical assessment service which launched on 1 October 2020.

People who call 111 – free from mobiles or landlines 24/7 – or access the service via will speak to call handlers and/or healthcare professionals who will be able to assess symptoms over the phone, issue prescriptions and directly book people into onward care appointments if they need one.

As the lead provider, South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) is working in conjunction with not-for-profit social enterprise Integrated Care 24 (IC24) to deliver the enhanced service.

Get more details on the East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group website.

Thousands in East Sussex to be vaccinated against the flu virus this winter

Flu vaccination clinics across East Sussex are underway and the NHS is encouraging anyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccination to book an appointment with their GP or pharmacist, as soon as they receive an invitation.

Every year the flu virus kills people and hospitalises many more. This year it is even more important people who are most at risk of flu have their free flu vaccination. All clinics will run in line with infection prevention control and social distancing measures will be in place.

For the first time, children in school Year 7, and household contacts and carers of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, are all eligible for the free vaccination. These groups are in addition to people aged over 65, those under 65 with long-term health conditions, pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 and children in primary school.

Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for Sussex NHS commissioners said: “This year with both the flu virus and Covid-19 circulating, flu immunisation is more important than ever to reduce infections, protect each other and protect the NHS.

“There is an expanded list of priority groups this year and we are offering the vaccine to children aged from 2 to 11, as well as those over the age of 65 and anyone with chronic illness including diabetes and weight problems. So, if you have a Body Mass Index of more than 40 or a chronic illness or learning disability, look after yourself and protect the NHS by having the flu jab.”

People aged between 50 and 64 who are not in a clinical at-risk group may also be offered a free flu vaccination later in the year, providing there is enough vaccine available. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first. Anyone of any age, including those between 50-64, who is a household member or a carer of a shielded patient, is eligible for the flu vaccination from September onwards and should contact the GP practice they are registered with or their pharmacy to book an appointment.

Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly.

For a full list of priority groups and other information about this year’s flu vaccine, visit and search for flu vaccine.

Information on the free flu vaccine is available in Easyread formats and in a variety of languages.

Public consultation into the future of Eastbourne Station Health Centre now closed

NHS East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would like to thank everyone who took part in the public consultation about the future of Eastbourne Station Health Centre.

The consultation originally began on 3 February 2020 and was scheduled to finish on 30 April 2020 but was paused after eight weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in line with government guidance and to ensure the health and safety of the public and CCG staff. After careful consideration, the governing body of East Sussex CCG endorsed the restart of the consultation at its virtual public meeting on 29 July, and the second phase of the consultation ran from 3 August to 14 September.

All the responses from both phases will now be carefully analysed by Opinion Research Services Ltd (ORS), the social research organisation employed by the CCG to manage the consultation feedback and to faithfully report the outcomes. ORS will then produce a comprehensive, independent report of the findings for the CCG to consider before any decisions are made.

The report will be published on the CCG’s website and people can also request a copy to be sent to them. Everything that local people and organisations have told us will be taken into account and will inform the decisions we take about the future of Eastbourne Station Health Centre.

NHS East Sussex CCG will take its final proposals to the following public (virtual) meetings:

Keep an eye on the CCG website for further updates.

Join the NHS Volunteer Responders

The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is seeking new members in parts of Hastings, Rother, Eastbourne, Wealden, Brighton and Hove.

The volunteers support people who are vulnerable because of COVID-19, and anyone who needs to self-isolate as a result of the virus, through a range of roles:

  • Community Response Volunteer: volunteers to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies.
  • Community Response Plus Volunteer: volunteers to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and or significant vulnerabilities who are shielding.
  • Patient Transport Volunteer: Providing transport to patients who are medically fit to attend routine medical appointments.
  • NHS Transport Volunteer: volunteers to transport equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. It may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery. This role can also help Local Resilience Networks with transportation and delivery of items such as food parcels.
  • Check In and Chat Volunteer: volunteers to provide telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness.
  • Check In and Chat Plus Volunteer: this is a peer-support role, provided by responders who are shielding themselves. Regular telephone support and a ‘listening ear’ is offered to clients who are also shielding or experiencing challenges as a result of COVID-19

For more information and to sign up visit: NHS Volunteer Responders website.

To arrange support for yourself or someone you know call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm seven days a week).

Talking about drinking: public conversation opens about alcohol in East Sussex

People in East Sussex are being asked to have their say about the impact of alcohol in the county.

A public consultation, which opened on Thursday 13 August, asks for views on the effects of drinking on everyday life and whether these have increased because of the coronavirus pandemic.

To open the discussion, four East Sussex residents have shared their personal stories about their lives with, and without, alcohol.

They include Sophia, from St Leonards who despite a loving family background and a good education found herself in prison for drink-driving and separated from her four-year-old daughter. Now three years sober, Sophia has her daughter back and a life which, in her own words “just keeps getting better day by day.”

The consultation recognises that drinking is a complex issue. On the one hand a part of many people’s social lives and a healthy industry which sustains jobs across the county, alcohol also harms many people and consumes millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent managing its effects. Often the harm is greatest for the poorest.

The consultation, which is completely anonymous and can be taken online in less than 10 minutes, asks people to say more about how, why and when they drink.

Its findings will help shape a public health strategy to reduce the harms of alcohol over the next five years.

Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health said: “Alcoholism doesn’t discriminate between gender, age, heritage, social status or intelligence.

“While many people enjoy a drink as part of their week, to unwind with friends or enjoy an event, there can also be a downside to drinking alcohol, when it starts to cause harm to the person drinking and the people around them.

“People have told us that one of our most important public health issues is reducing harm associated with alcohol and we want to keep that conversation going. “

The consultation is open until 31st August, take part on the East Sussex County Council website.