Please only use hospital A&E if your life depends on it

Torbay Hospital

Torbay Hospital - Credit: SUBMITTED

People in Devon are being urged to only go to their local emergency department in immediately life-threatening cases. 
The NHS in Devon is under severe pressure at present due to several factors, meaning GP surgeries, hospitals, community health services, mental health services and social care are all extremely busy. 
High numbers of emergency attendances, combined with the need for some health and care staff, or their children, to self-isolate and the impact of Covid-19 admissions are affecting services. 
NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s Lead Clinical Representative, Western Locality, Dr Shelagh McCormick said: “The pandemic is not over yet and we need local people to choose the right service for their needs. Where it is not urgent, you can help NHS staff, who are under extreme pressure at the moment, by waiting for the right service.   
“You can also continue to support the NHS by continuing to follow the Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air advice.  Maintaining high standards of hygiene and continuing with social distancing also helps combat the spread of other infectious illnesses like noroviruses which are circulating in the community.” 
Although the number of people in hospital with Covid is relatively low, hospitals are extremely busy and here’s what you can do to help – choose the right service for your needs, and if it’s not urgent, please be patient and wait to be seen in the right place.  
Before contacting your GP, you can look up your symptoms online using the NHS App, the NHS website or 111 online and there may be steps you can take to help yourself before needing to contact a healthcare professional.  Parents can download the Handiapp for information on childhood illnesses 
You can also continue to support the NHS by seeking help when you need it from the most appropriate service. There are a range of options to get help in addition to your GP surgery, such as the local pharmacy and mental health lines are available for Devon and Torbay – 0808 196 8708 
Emergency Departments are for life-threatening emergencies. There is a network of minor injury units in Devon who can provide the treatment you need – often they’ll see you quicker, and closer to home.