Covid-19 FAQs

Last updated: 23rd July 2020


This information has been collated by Healthwatch East Sussex from various sources and is accurate as at the time and date of publication. Please note that changes and updates to services may happen regularly and this material will be changed to reflect these.

NHS and social care services had to change the way they are working in response to COVID-19. So, if you are facing a difficult health or care decision or just don’t know how to find out about what support options are available, we are here to try and help.

We have listed questions that are being asked in East Sussex at this time .

However if your question is NOT listed OR you would like further information or support around one of the questions then please contact us:- via our Information and Signposting service

The number to ring is:  0333 101 4007 or you can email:

You may also like to visit our Feedback Centre where we invite you to rate and comment on any health or social care service that you have used.

Health and Social Care

GP’s are still making referrals and you should not delay contacting your GP if you have health concerns. Cancer referrals are still being made.

Patients can still make appointments with a Doctor, Nurse, Healthcare Assistant or Social Prescriber.

In the first instance please visit your GP practice website for more information or call them for more advice.

GPs are making alternative arrangements for certain groups of patients, such as the deaf community, people with learning difficulties, people whose first language is not English and people who do not have access to the telephone.

Please do not visit your GP if you have symptoms of coronavirus i.e. new continuous cough, high temperature and anosmia (loss of taste and smell).

If you have any of the above please follow the current NHS advice.

Advice and guidance on illnesses and medical conditions is available from NHS111 Online.

A new Video Relay Service (VRS), has gone live in all GP practices and offers telephone consultations to British Sign Language (BSL) users. This service was launched by the East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)to offer our deaf community access to book appointments and have telephone consultations without the need for support from friends or family through a service that provides signing and support. see press release April 2020

Any call made from the community directory is free for Deaf people.

SignLive is a free to download App, available on the Android play store and Apple store. To access the service

  1. Download the SignLive app
  2. Register your details
  3. Select your GP practice from the list and you will be connected to an interpreter before the call is connected

Community pharmacies are open although hours may be different to normal.

Please do not visit a pharmacy if you have symptoms of coronavirus i.e. a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these please follow the current NHS advice.

If you have no coronavirus symptoms, only visit your pharmacy if it is absolutely essential to do so and observe ‘social distancing’ at all times by keeping 2 meters from other people. Most people should continue to collect their medicines in the normal way.

The Government advise those considered vulnerable and ‘shielding’ but need to collect prescription medicines to do the following:

  • In the first instance, vulnerable patients are asked to have their medicines collected by a family member, friend or neighbour
  • If no-one can help collect prescriptions, vulnerable patients will be able to ask for support from their local Community hubs. Volunteers will be ID-checked and may be able to collect your prescription medicines.
  • In cases where the above help is not sufficient, a Medicines Delivery Service in community pharmacies will ensure that patients, for whom the above two options are not applicable, are able to receive their prescription medicines when they need them

Healthwatch have designed a poster with guidance on how to safely collect medicines on behalf of someone.

Yes, repeat prescriptions are still available as usual. It is important people only request medicines when they are running low (e.g. one week’s supply left).

Patients are being encouraged to order their repeat prescriptions online directly from their GP practice via the practice website or through the NHS App wherever possible, or using Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) phone service if this is available with their GP practice.

This will speed up the process for repeat prescriptions to be issued. It can take between 5 and 7 days from ordering a repeat prescription from a GP to it being ready to collect at the pharmacy. Patients are urged to plan in advance so that they don’t run out.

Please be aware that both GPs and Pharmacies remain particularly busy at this time, so do be patient.

At present, there is no move to increase the duration of prescriptions.

Dentists have been closed since the 25th March however dental practices have been told they could reopen from Monday 8th June if appropriate measures  can safely be put in place for patients.

Patients should still contact their dentist if they require medical help. This does not have to be the dental practice you are registered with and you can contact any practice which is near to your home.

Dentists can still prescribe medications such as pain relief and antibiotics for suspected infection.

For more information or help in finding a dentist taking on NHS patients, call the NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233 or Dental Helpline 0300 123 1663

If you have a dental emergency, you should contact a dental practice for a telephone assessment to assess your dental needs. This could either be the dental practice you normally attend or you can search for an NHS practice nearest to your home address on the NHS website at search for a dentist near you.

For more information or help in finding a dentist taking on NHS patients, call the NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233 or Dental Helpline 0300 123 1663

Out of usual surgery hours, you should call NHS111.

If a dentist thinks you need to be seen for urgent treatment, they may refer you to one of the new Urgent Dental Care Hubs. Please note that you cannot self-refer to one of these hubs.

You can still be referred to a Hub for urgent dental treatment if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or are vulnerable or shielding. although you will be seen at dedicated sites only.

The service is only available to people who are entitled to NHS treatment. Normal NHS prices will apply.

Patients contacting the service will be triaged and an appointment will be offered to those that meet the criteria. An appointment must be made prior to attendance.

Weekday services (subject to review)

Appointment line from 6.30pm to 10.30pm with appointments between 7.00pm to 9.00pm.

Eastbourne – 01323 449170

Hastings – 01424 850792

Lewes – 01273 486444

Weekend services (subject to review)

Appointment line from 9am-1.30pm with appointments between 10am -12noon

Hastings – 01424 850792

Lewes – 01273 486444

Appointment line live from 1.00pm to 5.30pm with appointments between 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Eastbourne – 01323 449170

If you are not registered with a dentist, please contact the East Sussex Emergency NHS Dental Service which offers out-of-hours temporary urgent treatment to patients who reside in East Sussex.

Over 2 million people were advised to ‘shield’ at the beginning of the pandemic.

On the 22nd June 2020 the Government announced that the advice for people who are shielding because of COVID-19 will be relaxed into two phases as follows:-

  • From 6 July those shielding will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing.Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules that are already in place for the wider population.
  • From 1 August, the shielding advice will relax further, allowing those shielding to do even more, such as visit shops and places of worship, and return to work provided they take particular care to maintain social distancing and minimise contact with others outside their household.

Food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service will stop as of 1 August, with everyone now being advised that they can visit shops and pharmacies.

Other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and the NHS Volunteers Scheme – will continue.

Useful links for current information:-

 Government plans to ease the guidance for over 2 million who are shielding (22.06.2020)

Advice on face coverings

 Healthwatch advice based on Government guidance

The two acute hospitals are open and are still providing safe, high quality, urgent and emergency care services for those people that need them.

Earlier into the pandemic Dr David Walker (Medical Director at East Sussex Hospitals Trust) had issued the following video message  identifying their concerns and the safeguards they have put in place for Covid-19 and information about the local acute hospitals at the Conquest  and EDGH  and the community hospitals at Rye, Bexhill and Uckfield. This remains under constant review.

A number of precautions have been put in place to keep patients safe, including:

  • Separate streams in the Emergency Department for possible Covid-19 patients and non Covid-19 patients and separate wards for the non Covid-19 patients to prevent cross-infection.
  • The location of some services so that patients can access them directly without coming through the main hospital
  • More and more outpatient appointments are taking place over the phone or via video call
  • Members of staff are wearing appropriate protective equipment to reduce spread of infection

Appointments at the Eastbourne and Conquest District General Hospitals

If you have an appointment booked at either the EDGH or Conquest the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT) has advised to check your appointment before you leave home.

If for any other reason you need to cancel or change your appointment, then please do contact their Appointment Centre via:

(01424) 758044
Monday to Friday – 8.00am to 6.00pm
Saturday – 9.00am to 12noon

The latest advice on appointments is available on the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust website.

Appointments at the Royal Sussex County Hospital

 If for any other reason you need to cancel or change your appointment, then please do contact their Bookings Centre via:

0300 303 8360

 The latest advice on appointments is available on the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trusts website.

Hospitals in East Sussex (Eastbourne and Conquest District General Hospitals) and Brighton and Hove (Royal Sussex County Hospital) have visiting restrictions

Details on these restrictions are set out below.

Anyone travelling any distance to make a visit is encouraged to check the restrictions on visiting before setting off.

Friends and family are encouraged to use a phone or video call to keep in touch with loved ones in hospital. To complement this they have also launched a service to ‘Send a message to a loved one’ using a virtual post box.

Government advice on face coverings to include hospitals

Eastbourne and Conquest District General Hospitals visiting restrictions

At these hospitals essential visitors are:

  • One visitor to a patient in a critical condition who may be at the end of their life
  • One parent or guardian visiting a child or accompanying them to an appointment
  • One birthing partner in labour wards only
  • One carer for a patient with additional needs that cannot be met by hospital staff (e.g. BSL or d/Deaf Blind interpreter, dementia support, carers etc)

For hospitals in East Sussex visiting information is available from the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust website.

Royal Sussex County Hospital visiting restrictions

 At this hospital essential visitors are:

  • A single birth partner for a woman in labour – please refer to the maternity site for further information about visiting and appointments
  • A single parent for a child in paediatrics
  • Carers with a carer’s passport or a carer’s card
  • Visitors for an end of life patient. To ensure compassion whilst delivering safe care, the number of visitors permitted at this time will be at the ward manager’s discretion.
  • In children’s units only one parent/carer is permitted, no siblings.
  • Two parents are permitted in our neonatal units.

For hospitals in Brighton and Hove visiting information is available from the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust website.

 Our two acute hospitals are open and are still providing safe, high quality, urgent and emergency care services for those people that need them.

Precautions have been put in place to keep patients safe, including separate streams in the Emergency Department for possible Covid-19 patients and non Covid-19 patients and separate wards for the non Covid-19 patients to prevent cross-infection.

Please do not visit the Emergency departments at any hospital to seek treatment for basic symptoms of Coronavirus (raised temperature and/or new persistent cough).

 If you have any Coronavirus symptoms then please follow Public Health England advice.

Advice and guidance on illnesses and medical conditions is available from NHS111 Online.

 Visits to Emergency department continue to be for genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:

New guidance has been published for making arrangements for limited visits for care homes with the support of their director of public health. It sets out:

  • the principles of a local approach to visiting arrangements and dynamic risk assessment;
  • guidance for providers establishing their visiting policy;
  • guidance for providers taking decisions on visiting for particular residents or groups of residents;
  • infection control precautions; and
  • communicating with relatives and others about the visiting policy and visiting decisions.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust made changes in response to Covid-19.

The temporarily suspended homebirth service has recently been re-instated see ESHT maternity update for information

Eastbourne Midwifery Unit (EMU) will re-open at 8.00am on Monday 6th July following a temporary closure while the organisation responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For any pregnancy concerns there is a Triage Helpline Number: 01323 413771

The Government and the NHS have both confirmed that cancer treatment should continue to be prioritised during this time. It is important to continue to seek help for new and ongoing issues.

If you notice a change that is not normal for you or if you have any possible signs and symptoms of cancer you should still contact your doctor.

Please continue to contact your GP or cancer specialist if  you are due to go to a hospital appointment for latest advice and guidance.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust have made changes in response to Covid-19.

Services have been told to reduce contact to maximise the safety of patients with cancer whilst protecting patients and staff from infection.

Chemotherapy and infusion care has temporarily moved to East Sussex College in Eastbourne with the aim to safely deliver treatment to cancer patients away from the main hospital.

Cancer Research UK have a page on coronavirus and different treatment types

You may also like to contact the Cancer Research UK Nurses if you would like to speak to someone.

Tel.  0808 800 4040 (Freephone)

Lines are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Non-emergency Patient Transport services are still operating. If you qualify for this service, Sussex patients’ first journey must be booked by a healthcare professional or by calling the Central Booking Line using the below details:

  • Central Booking Line 0300 123 9841 between 07:00 – 20:00 Monday to Saturday (08:00 – 17:00 Sundays and Bank Holidays)
  •  Patient Transport Service Cancellation Line 0300 790 0143 available 24/7 365 days a year

You can access further information about Patient Transport online here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Many mental health issues are common and treatable. There are some steps you may be able to follow yourself, as well as help available from others to support you.

The national mental health charity MIND has developed advice to help people in dealing with pressures brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you suspect you are showing signs of mental ill-health, support may be obtained from your GP.

If you or someone you care for is exhibiting any mental ill-health symptoms or has any concerns then you can go to or ring 111.

Sussex Partnerhsip NHS Trust  has introduced a number of changes to ensure that people with mental health conditions continue to receive the support they need as we respond to Covid-19.

Specialist professionals from Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is now offering supportive tips and guidance to parents and children about going back to school with advice about how to manage the new feelings and emotions they may have experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.

See:- Emotional and wellbeing support for young people, parents and teachers going back to school


The capacity of the 24/7 Sussex Mental Healthline has expanded, supporting people of all ages with referrals to a rapid assessment hub where required.

Most face-to-face services and support groups are on hold during the coronavirus outbreak but you can get online and phone support from many groups and services.

Southdown Services provide a wide range of care and support for vulnerable people in Sussex.

Wellbeing Centres provide services for adults ages 16+ living in East Sussex experiencing issues affecting their mental health and wellbeing. There are 7 centres providing telephone support to clients as well as virtual client groups/drop-ins. For information on how to refer visit their website

Eastbourne Wellbeing Centre

Phone: 01323 405330 | Email: I Facebook

8 Saffrons Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1DG (mail is being checked every Wednesday).

Hastings/ St. Leonards Wellbeing Centre

Phone: 01424 435472 Email: I Facebook

Carisbrooke House, Stockleigh Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0JP

Newhaven Wellbeing Centre

Phone: 01273 517641 | Email:  I Facebook

Summerhayes, Marshall Lane, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 9RB

Bexhill Wellbeing Centre

Phone: 01424 215548 I Email: I Facebook

73a London Road, Bexhill- on- Sea, TN39 3LB

Hailsham Wellbeing Centre

Phone: 01323 442706 I Email: I Facebook

Prospects House, 7-9 George Street Hailsham, East Sussex BN27 1AD (mail is being checked every Wednesday).

Lewes Wellbeing Centre

Phone: 01273 472453 I Email: I Facebook

47a Western Road, Lewes, BN7 1RL

Uckfield Wellbeing Centre (Crowborough Outreach Service)

Phone: 01825 760684 I Email: I Facebook

Bellbrook Centre, Bell Lane, Uckfield, TN22 1QL

Peer Support Service providing telephone support only until further notice. Peer support specialists have their own lived experience of mental health challenges. They provide a listening ear and work with individuals to develop wellness plans. Peer Support Service

Staying Well Service – provides out of hours recovery focused support for individuals (aged 16+ &living in East Sussex) with urgent mental health support needs.

Hastings Staying Well

6pm-10.30pm on weekdays and 3pm – 10.30pm on weekends.

Eastbourne Staying Well

4pm – 10.30pm on weekdays and 3pm – 10.30pm on weekends Staying Well

Other services include Thinking Well Service which offers dedicated support for people with Personality Disorder and Community Connectors offering support to individuals to improve their own health and wellbeing by developing personalised and practical solutions to every day issues following the Social Prescribing pathway. See website for more details.

Health In Mind

Health in Mind is a free NHS service for anyone in East Sussex experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Please see the referral form online Referral form for Health In Mind

SCDA Counselling Service

The counselling service at SCDA is still running and providing affordable counselling support for people at risk of suicide via phone or video calls.

Contact for enquiries –

Mia on 01273 519108

Email  Or

For support service call the above number or email

Other Useful Helplines for Support

NHS England suggested helplines for support and someone to talk to:

NHS Mental Health Helplines

Looking after your mental wellbeing while staying at home (Every mind matters and NHS England)

Every Mind Matters – Staying at home healthy tips

 Your mental health -what you can do and where to find support (Healthwatch England):

Healthwatch England – Advice and Support

The Government has provided advice  for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Children’s Commissioner has created a children’s guide to coronavirus to help explain the situation to children. It aims to answer their questions, tell them how to stay safe and protect other people, and how to help them make the best of their time at home.

e-wellbeing is a new and recently launched digital wellbeing service for young people developed by YMCA Downslink Group in partnership with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. This service aims to offer support for all young people to be able to access the right support and information around their emotional health and wellbeing.

ThinkNinja is an app specifically designed to educate 10-18 year olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and to provide skills young people can use to build resilience and to fulfil their potential.

As a direct response to the Covid-19 crisis, ThinkNinja has been updated with specific Covid-19 content bringing self-help knowledge and skills to children and young people who may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during the crisis.

Young Minds are the UK’s leading charity helping support children and young people’s mental health. There are many useful resources available to download  to help promote good mental health and wellbeing.

i-Rock is currently providing virtual emotional and mental wellbeing support for 14-25 year olds living in East Sussex. The service continues to offer an 11-6pm provision daily through virtual clinic software, telephone or email.

Young people interested in accessing support should please make an initial enquiry by email to :-

E-motion counselling  – free online counselling to young people aged 12-18 years old living in East Sussex.

Research shows that self-help tools are often enough for people to overcome mild to moderate mental health difficulties without professional support.

The Wellness Society have developed a Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook which you or your family members may find useful. This document is un-copyrighted by its owner so can be shared freely.

available in pdf.

Psychology Tools provide a number of free psychological self-help guides for the public to include:-

 A guide to living with Worry and Anxiety amidst global uncertainty


Call the emergency services

If you are concerned about an immediate risk of harm – either to yourself or someone else – then Phone 999.

Preventing Suicide in Sussex with the aim to support the reduction of annual suicides, particularly amongst men in Sussex has been launched by the Sussex Health and Care Partnership with details of help and advice

Contact the Samaritans

The Samaritans provide help and support for people in a crisis 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Phone 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website

If you are not sure what to do… Phone 111

Council Services

A list of the services operated by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) affected by Coronavirus is available on their website.

Headline changes to ESCC services include:

  • Whilst Schools have remained closed since March 2020, many are now planning phased returns from 1st June 2020. For latest updates for each school see Schools latest information

The Government have produced a useful guide for parents and carers

What Parents and Carers need to know about schools and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak with much information for parents and carers about the wider opening of educational settings (nurseries, schools, colleges, transport, attendance, free school meals and remote education)

There is also published guidance detailing protective measures in education and childcare settings

  • Adult Social Care have temporarily ceased Occupational Therapy clinics, Blue Badge clinics, Day Services for Older People and the Skills Development and Employment Pathway (SDEP)
  • Libraries in Battle, Hastings, Eastbourne, Newhaven and Crowborough will re-open on 13 July. They will not offer a full library service but will encourage people to continue using their eLibrary where they can. Library layouts have been changed for social distancing, meaning there will be fewer books available to borrow. However, a ‘Select + Collect’ service will let you choose up to 20 books online or by calling the library service, to pick up from one of the re-opened libraries. Anything borrowed can be kept until the 30th September. 45-minute computer sessions will be available to book in advance but there will be no study space, access to reference material or customer toilets. There’s a Home Library Service for vulnerable people, for further information:
  • Register Offices were closed but are now open. See register details for Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings and Crowborough
  • Household waste recycling sites (‘tips’) will begin reopening to the public from 10am on Monday 18 May. However, with social distancing still necessary, the service will have put in place safe restrictions. The sites will operate differently and have revised opening times – people should check the Council’s East Sussex County Council for up-to-date information.

Hastings Borough Council – Waste and recycling

Lewes District Council and Eastbourne Borough Council – Bins, waste and recycling

Rother District Council – Rubbish and recycling

Wealden District Council – Recycling and waste

The operation of each of the five local authorities in East Sussex has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This may include changes to Help Points, Council Offices, Car Parks, Waste collections, Museums, Leisure Centres and other operations.

Details of the specific changes in each local authority area are set out on their websites:

Eastbourne Borough Council

Hastings Borough Council

Lewes District Council

Rother District Council

Wealden District Council

If you must travel always practice social distancing.

As of the 15th June face coverings become mandatory on public transport


Bus operators and community transport providers may still have reduced services – for details, see bus service changes.

Older persons and disabled persons concessionary bus passes in East Sussex are now being accepted for free travel at all times. Please check the bus operators’ websites for the latest position.


Southern Trains are currently running a revised timetable. They have a dedicated page on their website outlining their services during the Coronavirus period.

South Eastern Trains are currently running a revised timetable. They have a dedicated page on their website outlining their services during the Coronavirus period.

Getting Support

If you or someone you know requires help in dealing with the effects of Coronavirus, but has no other forms of support from friends, family or neighbours, then contact the Community Hub in your area via the details below.

This may be of particular value for anyone who is particularly vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus and had received a letter to that effect.

If you did not receive a letter but have a medical condition and are unsure whether this makes you extremely vulnerable then register anyway.

Community Hubs in East Sussex:
Hubs are usually open during working hours, 9am to 5pm, although this will vary slightly from hub to hub. Each one can be reached online or by phone.

Hubs are focused on providing people with the support they require, this may include:

  • Co-ordinating access to food or medicine
  • Linking volunteers to talk to people who feel isolated
  • Contacting a health provider to consider treatment
  • Advisers on finance, benefits or other welfare measures.


phone: 01323 679722 (option 1)


phone: 01424 451019

HEART  (Hastings Emergency Action Response Team) is helping to organise mutual aid for people in the area of Hastings & St. Leonard’s. Contact  HEART  for details of ‘help available’ and for Volunteering opportunities

Hastings Covid-19 Community Support Hotline

For any resident or carer of Hastings and St. Leonards who may need additional help. Contact Hastings Borough Council on a special helpline: 01424 451019 open 9am – 5pm Monday – Thursday, 9am – 4.30 pm Friday. More info and an online form for non-urgent enquiries is available, see link :-


01273 099956 (option 1)


phone: 01424 787000 (option 4)



phone: 01323 443322

If you believe you know someone in your community whom you feel may be deemed as being in the ‘highly vulnerable’ group then please go to:

Your GP can arrange for you to be added to the list – some GPs may have been incorrectly advising patients that this is not possible, but instructions from NHS England and guidance from the Royal College of General Practitioners make clear that they can do this.

If your GP does not judge that you fall into the ‘highly’ vulnerable category, you can still voluntarily ‘shield’ yourself, although the official guidance is that it is sufficient for you to follow social distancing rules. You can also seek advice through The Community Hubs (see question: I feel isolated as a result of Coronavirus and require immediate support, where should I go for help?)


If you are an essential worker, aged 65+ or cannot work from home AND you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, you can apply for a test. Frontline workers such as NHS staff are given priority

See link : coronavirus testing eligibility and guidance for information

Locations of currently advised test centres in Sussex are:

  • Brighton: Amex Stadium, Village Way, Brighton BN1 9BL
  • Bexhill: Bexhill Hospital Chapel Car Park Hollier’s Hill, Bexhill-on-Sea TN40 2DZ
  • Bognor Regis: Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital, Shripney Road, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, O22 9PP (attendees must use the Bersted Street Entrance)
  • Gatwick: Gatwick Airport, Summer Special Car Park, Horley, Gatwick RH6 0PJ

There is a Coronavirus Testing Call Centre for employees who have been referred or booked a test themselves, which is contactable on 0300 303 2713.

Lines are open daily 08:00 – 20:00. This call centre does not offer medical advice. If you feel unwell call NHS 111 or in a medical emergency, dial 999.

The Government have issued guidance and support which includes what happens if you test positive for COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. For the latest information see NHS test and trace:how it works

If you are a resident of Hastings and St. Leonard’s Area

CONNECT IN is Hastings Voluntary Action’s (HVA) Telephone Befriending Service.

If you or someone you know would benefit from having someone to chat to, visit

CONNECT IN befriending service.

Or call 01424 444010

HEART  (Hastings Emergency Action Response Team) is helping to organise mutual aid for people in the area of Hastings & St. Leonard’s. Contact  HEART  for details of ‘help available’ and for Volunteering opportunities

If you are a resident of Eastbourne area or other surrounding areas

A Telephone Befriending Service of volunteers is available.

Email:  with your phone number


Call 07501 909048 between 10-12 weekdays

If you are worried about money and need help then Citizens Advice may be able to help you.

They have lots of information on their website about money, benefits and debt: or details of local East Sussex Citizen Advice Bureau locations

While the local Citizens Advice aren’t giving face-to-face advice at the moment they may still be able to help by phone, email or online chat.

If you can’t contact your local service, you can call the Citizen’s advice national phone line or talk to an adviser online. The number for Adviceline is: 03444 111 444. The textphone number is: 18001 03444 111 445. This service has been set up by government to provide free and impartial advice.

The Money Advice Service is a body set-up by government to provide free and impartial advice. They can offer a wide range of advice and information on issues such as debt, benefits, mortgages, pensions, travel and insurance.

If you need to know more about which benefits you may be eligible for and how to access them, then please visit this page.

The Money Advice Service also signposts to a range of free advice services who are able to offer guidance in relation to benefits and wider support such as food banks. This information is set out here.

If you are concerned about banking and mortgages, then it may be worth looking at the website of your bank or building society or contacting them for more information.

The British Red Cross Hardship Fund provides short term financial help for people who cannot afford essentials such as food and toiletries, somewhere safe to sleep, access to a telephone and the internet, and fuel to keep the lights on, cook or stay warm. The fund is for people with no income or welfare support, or where there are delays in accessing income or welfare support.  The fund can be used to help people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

Your Energy Sussex (YES) are providing additional support for vulnerable pre-payment energy customers during the current restrictions.

Vulnerable householders that meet the financial criteria AND are in the shielding and self-isolating group as defined by the Government will now be included under the vulnerability criteria

To seek whether eligible contact:-

Citizen’s Advice Contact Number  03444 111444

Most foodbanks are operating on a delivery service only at this current time.

Search help to find a foodbank in my area for further information and eligibility criteria on which foodbanks are currently operating and the support available

Government Food Parcel

You may have been eligible for a Government food parcel if you were unable to get essentials delivered. Should you wish to now CANCEL the food parcel you may like to view the following advice:-

  • simply refuse the next food parcel that is delivered to your door, by telling the driver you no longer wish to receive food. The driver should inform the Government and you will be removed from the distribution list. The food parcel will be redelivered to someone else on the list, so there is no wastage.
  • You can visit the Government registration website or call 0800 0288 327 and answer ‘yes’ to the question: ‘Do you have a way of getting essential supplies delivered at the moment?’

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) Food Parcel

ESCC food boxes

You may have been receiving an East Sussex County Council’s food delivery service particularly if the Government box does not meet your medical, dietary, cultural or household needs and you do not have family, friends or neighbours who can help.

As with the Government box, should you wish to CANCEL the food parcel then please contact the following number:-

East Sussex County 01273 481242 

(Please note that ESCC is unable to cancel the Government food parcel on your behalf)

Raising Concerns and Complaints

Yes you can still lodge a complaint or concern with any organisation that delivers health and care services.

These should be made using their complaints procedures. More information can be found on their websites, or by contacting them.

NHS Complaints were paused on the 26th March however are planned to resume from the 1st July 2020. The information available currently is that NHS organisations have been told that as long as circumstances do not significantly change the ‘pause’ to the NHS complaints process will not be extended in July 2020.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) will also start accepting new health complaints and progressing existing ones from 1st July 2020.

We have been advised that NHS England is discussing with the PHSO and the Department of Health and Social Care the threshold should the NHS need to consider another pause in the event of a second wave either locally or nationally of COVID-19 and will update accordingly

For further information please visit NHS England

Advocacy Support

If you have a complaint about a service delivered or paid for by the NHS in East Sussex and want to learn more about the process for making a complaint or receive support in making one, you can access the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy (IHCA) Service delivered by The Advocacy People.

If you require support The Advocacy People can be contacted directly via:

Phone: 0330 440 9000

Post: PO Box 375, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 9HU

Text: 80800, starting message with PEOPLE

If you have a complaint about a non-NHS service or are seeking wider advice and support, Healthwatch East Sussex provide a dedicated Information and Signposting service.

This is available via a dedicated phone line on weekdays from 10am to 2pm:

The number to ring is: 0333 101 4007 or you can email:

Yes, you can provide feedback on your experience with any health or care service in East Sussex with Healthwatch at any time.

Healthwatch is the independent public watchdog for health and care services in East Sussex. Our role is to help people access, understand, and navigate the health and care in East Sussex. We also capture people’s experiences in order to help to improve local services.

Our Feedback Centre allows users to rate and comment on an health or social care service that they have used.

Our Information and Signposting service is available via a dedicated phone line on weekdays from 10am to 2pm and trained staff can help you to find out about:

  • Health and care services near to you
  • How to access the support and advice you need
  • What to do if you have a concern or complaint
  • How to share feedback about services

The number to ring is: 0333 101 4007 or you can email:

If the line is busy, please leave a voicemail message and we will get back to you within 1-2 working days. All calls are charged at the cost of a local call, or included in your tariff.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) provides information and advice around safeguarding adults during the Covid-19 crisis.

If you have a safeguarding concern please report it. Safeguarding is about protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults from abuse or neglect.

You may suspect that someone is being harmed or abused because:

  • You have general concerns about someone’s wellbeing
  • You see or hear about something which could cause abuse
  • Someone tells you something has happened or is happening to them which could be abuse

How can I report concerns?


Phone: 0345 60 80 191

Email: Health and Social Care Connect

Contact the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency

Outside of normal office hours the Emergency Duty Service will respond to serious adult social care issues that cannot wait until the next working day.


Phone: 01323 464 222


If you think a child is in immediate danger call the Police

Concerns about Abuse

Support is available via the Portal – a partnership of leading Sussex Domestic and Sexual Abuse Charities

To contact The Portal, call

01323 417598 for Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden

01424 716629 for Hastings Rother and Rye


Cruse East Sussex offers expert bereavement support across the county, with a base in Brighton and Hove serving the city and surrounding areas, and a base in Eastbourne serving Eastbourne & District and Hastings & Rother.

Confidential support and information is available to bereaved people of all ages, free of charge.

Telephone: 01323 642942 Email:

Address:Cruse Bereavement Care,The William and Patricia Venton Centre, Junction Road, Eastbourne BN21 3QY

Sussex Health and Care Partnership have provided a bereavement guide to offer support during Covid-19, see link: Your bereavement guide to support you during Covid-19

The Good Grief Trust provides a Covid-19 national bereavement helpline for support and advice during these uncertain and disturbing times.

Call freephone number 0800 2600 400 anytime between 8am – 8pm

The Childhood Bereavement Network is available supporting bereaved children and young people

Fraud and Scams

Unfortunately, reports are being received of unscrupulous traders and scammers who are using the Coronavirus pandemic situation for their own ends.

It is important that the public remain vigilant for such practices and look out for vulnerable friends, family members and neighbours.

National Trading Standards have launched a Friends Against Scams initiative to raise awareness of these issues. Further information and resources are available on their website.

For advice on scams call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133

To report a scam call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 

If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999