Many NHS acute and community health and care services have been restored by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Earlier this year, the trust had to radically change how it provided services because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

People needing urgent care continued to be able to access it safely throughout, however non-urgent services had to be stopped.

The trust has now restored many services and is working hard to step-up the others.

In order to see as many patients as possible safely, a number of changes have taken place including online and telephone appointments where appropriate, mindful that there are many people waiting to receive treatments and procedures which have been unavoidably delayed by the pandemic.

The reopening of the day surgery unit on September 1 was good news for the many patients waiting to undergo a day procedure.

Having been used as an initial receiving and treatment unit for Covid-19 patients and then as a medical receiving unit for urgent patients, the day surgery unit will again be used to perform surgery for a host of specialties, with around 80 per cent of these under general anaesthetic.

It is expected to be operating at full capacity next month.

Ian Currie, acting medical director, said: “We are now safely re-introducing more non-urgent hospital services such as cardiac investigations and some laparoscopic - ‘keyhole’ - surgery. We are urgently prioritising those most in need on our waiting lists.”

The trust is keen to remind the public that when visiting any hospitals or clinical sites, they must observe the latest guidance regarding physical distancing and use of hand sanitiser and face coverings.

The pandemic is not over, Autumn and winter is approaching, so the trust is continuing to be scrupulous in its precautionary measures to prevent spread of the virus. This means continuing some practices recently taken-up in order to maintain service levels, where this has been possible.

Ian Currie said: “We will see fewer people face to face, and use phone and video more for outpatient follow-up appointments, routine screenings and diagnostics.”