A Brighton doctors’ surgery is to stay open until midnight and beyond over the Pride weekend to help treat extra patients.
The Brighton Station Walk-in Centre, in Queen’s Road, will be open until 10pm on Friday (2 August) and on Saturday from 8am until 2am on Sunday.
When the surgery reopens at 8am on Sunday (4 August), staff and medics have been rostered to work until midnight.
The extra hours over three days are intended in part to ease the pressure on the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
And the organisers of Brighton Pride also work with St John Ambulance volunteers in Preston Park to deal with many of people’s more immediate medical needs.
The preparations have been made as hundreds of thousands of visitors and locals are expected to crowd into the centre of Brighton over the Pride weekend.
The forecast is for a warm dry weekend with huge crowds expected to line the streets for the parade as well as turning out for the festival in Preston Park – where Kylie Minogue is the headline act – and for the Pride Village Party in Kemp Town.
Health chiefs urged residents to use the extended out of hours service being offered by local GP (general practice) surgeries at the weekend.
This was likely to be quicker in most cases than a visit to A&E, according to the Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
And it would free up emergency medical services for those in the most serious need, health chiefs said.
The CCG said: “Residents who find themselves with an urgent medical need that’s not an emergency can make an appointment through their GP between 6.30pm to 8.30pm every weekday evening and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday by contacting their registered surgery.
“These appointments are in addition to the usual GP surgery opening hours from 8am to 6pm.”
David Supple, the clinical chair of the CCG, said: “We are pleased to support Pride in our city. With so many visitors and locals out enjoying the festivities it is more important than usual that everyone gets access to local health services, receiving the right care in the right place at the right time.”
Dr Supple added: “We have many pre-bookable GP appointments locally for our residents this Pride weekend.
“Appointments will be at a local practice, a practice receptionist can help you find the right service and at a time that works best for you.”
As well as the Brighton Station Walk-in Centre, the CCG said that alternatives to A&E for urgent care – when it’s not an emergency – included 111 and the NHS website www.nhs.uk to check symptoms around the clock.
And as well as the extra hours over the Pride weekend, the NHS walk-in centre at Brighton Station was open 8am to 8pm every day for minor injuries and ailments without an appointment.
The NHS 111 service is available 24 hours a day, offering advice and guidance for patients experiencing non-emergency urgent healthcare needs.
It can also advise on local NHS services, connect callers to medical professionals, arrange appointments and offer self-care advice.
The CCG said: “A pharmacist can also help, offering treatment advice and recommend remedies – and give guidance on giving medicines to children.
“No appointment is necessary to see a local pharmacist and most have private consultation areas.”