Weekend Diagnosis: Easter holidays

17 March 2016

Mairead McAlindenThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Mairead McAlinden, our Chief Executive

For the majority of people the Easter holiday provides a much looked forward to break and time out with the family. However, for those who need an NHS service, knowing what service to access and where can be confusing.

Each holiday, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and its partners ensure you are able to access the most appropriate health and social care advice and treatment, giving you and your family peace of mind.

Firstly, we should all consider just how vital it is that we see a doctor or whether we can self-medicate at home with some support over the telephone or internet.

NHS 111 is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and is staffed by fully- qualified nurses. They will discuss your symptoms and provide advice as to how to best deal with them, either by suggesting suitable over the counter-medicines or by putting you in contact with a GP or other health expert. By simply telephoning NHS 111 you can receive the right help quickly and easily, whatever the time. For online healthcare advice online, visit www.nhs.uk.

You can also go into your local pharmacy for advice from the pharmacist. Torbay and South Devon pharmacies operate on a rota system to ensure advice and medicines are available throughout the holiday period. Details are posted in all pharmacies, GP surgeries and in the local press. You can also visit www.southdevonandtorbayccg.nhs.uk for the most up-to-date information.

It is also important to consider the measures that we can all take in the run up to any bank holiday to ensure we are prepared, such as requesting any repeat prescriptions needed before the Easter break, and making sure the medicine cabinet is stocked up with over the counter remedies for ailments such as headaches and stomach upsets.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer serious dental pain during the bank holiday, contact your own dental practice in the first instance. If they are unable to provide an appointment, or if you do not have a regular dentist, you can contact the Community Dental Service, based at Castle Circus Health Centre in Torquay, on 01803 217777.

For minor ailments requiring expert treatment, such as cuts, burns, breaks and sprains, you can visit one of our Minor Injury Units (MIU) situated across Torbay and South Devon. Again, locations and opening hours for community hospitals and MIUs can be found on our website www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk.

If you, or someone you care for requires urgent, unplanned social care during the holiday, contact our Emergency Duty Team, on 0845 056 8032.

I hope this will go some way to help should you require access to NHS services over the holiday period and I wish you all an enjoyable and healthy Easter.


Weekend Diagnosis a fortnightly column published in the Herald Express discussing local health and care issues.

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