Health professionals in Torbay and South Devon are appealing to local people to help ease the pressure on emergency departments by avoiding using them unless in an emergency.
There has been a very high number of people attending Torbay Hospital’s Emergency Department over the past few days, including some with a range of minor complaints which could have been treated more appropriately and effectively elsewhere.
Torbay Hospital’s on-call Director, Lesley Darke, said: “Choosing the most appropriate NHS service means you get more effective advice and treatment. It can also help you avoid a wasted journey because if you have a non-emergency health complaint that could be better treated outside of hospital then you are most likely to be signposted back to your GP.
“Your cooperation will help us ensure that our highly skilled Emergency Department staff can concentrate their efforts on treating those with serious and life-threatening conditions or injuries.”
South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the Trust which runs Torbay Hospital, is also warning that as part of their escalation process to handle high numbers of admissions, some pre-planned non-emergency operations may have to be cancelled.
South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which has responsibility for planning, designing and buying services to meet the needs of the local population, supported the Trust’s appeal.
Dr Derek Greatorex of the CCG said: “Many minor ailments and conditions can be treated at home, with advice and remedies from your local pharmacist.
“However, if it is an emergency you should not hesitate to call 999 immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.”
“If you are uncertain or concerned about your illness, or you need to consult a doctor out of hours, you can call the confidential NHS 111 helpline, which is free from mobiles and landlines.
“There are also minor injury units at community hospitals that will look after bumps, bruises, smaller cuts and sprains.