The NHS in Devon is preparing for the next wave of industrial action alongside two bank holiday weekends at the beginning of May.
Visitors and local people are being encouraged to make best use of health services, especially as nationwide strikes by nurses are taking place between two back-toback bank holiday weekends.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is undertaking round-the-clock strike action from 8pm 30 April to 11:59pm 1 May 2023. The RCN has confirmed that this strike will involve nursing staff working in emergency departments, intensive care units, cancer care and other services that were previously exempt.
Darryn Allcorn, NHS Devon’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: “We want to reassure local people and visitors that we have been preparing for the holiday season for some time. However, the two bank holiday weekends, coupled with the upcoming nurses strikes, means our health services are facing an extremely busy period.
“There is likely to be significant impact upon local services. This will mean services will feel different for patients – this could include longer waits.
“We’re asking visitors and residents to do their bit to help our frontline staff by choosing the right treatment options and to look after themselves, loved ones and checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours.”
The message from the NHS in Devon is that urgent and emergency care will be there for you, but please choose the right service for your needs. Ahead of the bank holiday weekends, the advice is to:
• Make sure you have ordered and collected any repeat medicines, especially if you are travelling
• Continue to call 999 in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk
• Go to NHS 111 online if you need medical help or advice, or you are unsure about whether you should go to hospital; you can also phone 1112
• On strike days, take advice from 111/999 call-handlers on whether there are circumstances where it is suitable to make your own way to hospital
• Play your part by taking simple steps during industrial action to look after
yourselves and loved ones, checking in on vulnerable family members and neighbours. A firsts step is making sure your medicine cabinet is well-stocked
• Make use of community pharmacies, which can advise on minor illnesses and provide medications. Details of which pharmacies are open over the bank holiday weekend can be found via the interactive map here:
• Anyone with an appointment should continue to attend as planned, unless they’ve been contacted to rearrange and it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
Visitors to Devon are also reminded that their first port of call for GP care is their home practice, which will be able to provide online, phone and video consultations as well as arranging for prescriptions to be sent to any pharmacy you choose.
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