Following one of the worst snowfalls in living memory, the NHS will take a few days to get back to normal in Devon.
To help it to do this, NHS chiefs are reminding people about the full range of NHS services available.
Winter is traditionally demanding for the NHS, so it is important that patients choose the best help for them, getting information or treatment in the quickest time possible.
The NHS 111 helpline continues to operate and are proving popular among the public, GP practices and pharmacies are available as usual.
Other services available include minor injuries units (MIU), walk-in centres and the NHS 111 helpline. Staff at the MIUs will examine minor ailments and injuries, and can determine if an x-ray is required.
Dr Rob Dyer, lead medical director for Devon, said: “The weather has been unprecedented in Devon over the last week with the largest snowfall almost anyone can remember. The NHS’s response to people in need during this was incredible.
“I’ve heard tales of GPs, nurses and other staff trudging through knee-high snow to get to work, nurses using quadbikes to reach patients and staff sleeping over to make sure they can continue to care.
“The community really pulled out all the stops too, helping our staff with lifts on tractors, in 4X4 vehicles and volunteering to help in their local hospital.
“But the NHS never stops and now it is time to hit the reset button to allow all parts of the healthcare system time to recover.
“We appeal to all members of the public to use the right service to help us to do this.
“People with minor ailments have a wide range of options, including visiting an MIU or phoning 111. Some people may wish to book an appointment to see a GP or visit a pharmacy.
“Pharmacists are highly trained and skilled professionals, offering a range of very accessible health services – including medication for complaints such as fevers, coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as year-round health issues such as healthy eating, sexual health and giving up smoking.
“Pharmacists will be really happy to provide a wide range of advice, and an appointment is not needed.”
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