Weekend Diagnosis: Choosing the right service for your injury or illness

18 January 2017

Dr Rob Dyer, Medical DirectorThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Dr Rob Dyer, our Medical Director

Winter often leads to increased pressures on health and social care services, and like many hospitals across the country, Torbay Hospital is currently experiencing additional pressures particularly in the Emergency Department.

The Emergency Department treats people who need immediate emergency care. Torbay Hospital’s Emergency Department sees around 70,000 patients each year, a number of whom have minor injuries or common illnesses which could be treated by other services including seeking advice from a pharmacist, visiting a minor injury unit or phoning 111.

If you do have an emergency, such as any of the following conditions, do not delay and call 999 immediately or go to your nearest hospital emergency department:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped

However, most people do not need care urgently and there are better options to choose from. Please choose the most appropriate service for your injury or illness and not only will you probably get faster treatment, you will also allow our Emergency Department to be able to concentrate on those who need emergency treatment.

To save you time if and when you need to seek treatment or advice, it is helpful to have a list to hand of contact details for:

  • your GP surgery
  • your local pharmacy – who can advise on remedies to treat many minor ailments and conditions at home
  • your nearest minor injury unit – where bumps, bruises, cuts and sprains can be treated

All the details are available on www.nhs.uk where you can also access further health advice and information on cold and flu. If you are uncertain or concerned about your illness, you can call the confidential NHS 111 helpline, which is free from both mobiles and landlines.

Please help us to ensure our highly skilled Emergency Department staff can concentrate their efforts on treating those with serious and life-threatening conditions or injuries.


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

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