The NHS Trust which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital said some non-urgent operations may be rescheduled as the hospital has seen an increase in emergency admissions.
And the Trust is urging people only to attend A&E in a ‘real emergency’.
The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH), which runs the Brighton hospital and the Princess Royal in Haywards Heath, said it has been busy over Christmas, although it did not yet have the figures for the number of patients attending A&E during the festive period.
It did reveal, however, that patients had faced longer waiting times than usual in accident and emergency (A&E).
This comes as NHS’s National Emergency Pressures Panel (NEPP) met on Tuesday, and said the health service had been under ‘sustained pressure’ over the Christmas period, because of the increase of flu, high levels of respiratory illness, and high bed occupancy levels.
It added that hospitals could continue to defer operations considered not to be urgent, to ‘free up capacity for our sickest patients’ to January 31.
Dr Rob Haigh, medical director at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our hospitals have been extremely busy over Christmas and New Year and our staff are working really hard to care for all our patients.
“We know that some patients have faced longer waiting times in A&E than we would like and are doing everything possible to mitigate this. We have also seen an increase in the severity of illness in our emergency admissions, requiring more prolonged treatment. As a result, we expect to have to reschedule some operations over the coming weeks, and I would like apologise to those patients in advance.
“We will be contacting anyone affected by phone to make new arrangements, so if you don’t hear from us, please do come in for your treatment as planned.
“People can really help us by only coming to our A&E departments if they have a real emergency.”
A website set up as part of the #HelpMyNHS campaign highlights the alternatives to A&E visits or GP appointments, and has advice on the most appropriate services across Sussex to treat a range of illness and injuries. To find out more, visit: www.sussexhelpmy.nhs.uk