The statement comes as junior doctors and consultants in England are set to take action for the first time over the coming weeks.
The British Medical Association has confirmed there will be nine days of action planned over the next few weeks, as part of a national dispute between the government and doctors’ trade unions over terms and conditions.
Consultants are set to strike on September 19 and 20, while junior doctors will take action from September 19 to 21. On October 2, 3 and 4, both groups will strike together.
Dr Dinesh Sinha, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Sussex, said: “The NHS in Sussex is grateful to people for their support during the recent periods of industrial action, and these latest strikes will again have a difficult impact, with almost all routine care being affected and many planned care appointments needing to be rescheduled.
“All health and care partners are working together and we are planning as much as we can but we are concerned about Wednesday in particular when both junior doctors and consultants will be taking action.
Members of the public are asked to choose the most appropriate NHS service for their needs, to only use A and E services in serious or otherwise life threatening circumstances, to understand that it may take longer than usual to be seen, to collect family and friends from the hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged, and to steer clear of hospitals if they are showing symptoms of a flu or have tested positive for Covid-19.
"The NHS will prioritise patient safety during the periods of industrial action, with health and care partners working together to ensure that critical services will continue to be available,” a spokesperson said.
“Planned appointments and clinics will be affected, however people should still continue to attend their appointments unless they are contacted directly by the NHS.
“Patients do not need to contact their NHS service or team in advance, the team will contact patients directly if an appointment needs to be rescheduled.”