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A critical internal incident has been declared at a Surrey hospital, with all operations and appointments cancelled.

The trust issued a plea urging people to "think" before turning up at its overstuffed A&E.

But the hospital said it wasn't related to fuel shortages or a spike in Covid cases.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust ('Sash') said: "Sash is really busy at the moment. We’re urging you to think before going to A&E.

"Minor injuries units can treat most urgent but not life-threatening injuries.

"If you’re unsure where to go please call 111 who can point you in the right direction.

"Help us care for those who need it."

Trust chief executive Michael Wilson had said yesterday: "Due to extremely high demand on our services we have postponed outpatient appointments and some elective surgery while our doctors and nurses pull out all the stops to provide safe care for our patients.

"We expect these services to resume in the next 24 to 48 hours."

Urgent operations and cancer treatments will continue as planned.

Anyone not contacted by the hospital was told to attend their appointment as normal.

A local councillor told SurreyLive the hospital is "well-run" but people must not go unless it is "an absolute accident or emergency".

Reigate and Banstead councillor Natalie Bramhall said: "East Surrey Hospital is fantastically run and I am sure that if they have declared an internal critical incident that it's because they have been overwhelmed.

"There are a huge number of patients visiting, just going to A&E, because they can't get GP appointments; that makes the situation even worse.

"Unless it's an absolute accident or emergency, residents should not attend, but I have every faith in the clinical team and management there.

"I can't praise the nurses and doctors enough. They saved my life."

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