Urgent and emergency care

Emergency care is for people who have a condition that is life threatening or presents an immediate risk to long term health. An emergency is ‘a critical or life-threatening situation’. Emergency care is provided by the Emergency Department at Torbay Hospital.

Urgent care services are for people who have a problem that needs attention the same day, but is not life threatening or life changing. This can be provided by our minor injuries units, various health professionals, including GPs, hospital doctors and nurses in various locations, and health centres.

You can visit your local Minor Injuries Unit if you have the following type of injuries:

  • cut, graze or wound
  • sprain, strain, muscle or joint injury
  • broken bone (fracture)
  • skin complaint – bite or sting (including human bites), unexplained rash or even severe sunburn
  • minor infection which needs treating
  • emergency contraception
  • minor head injury
  • eye problem such as a minor eye infection, scratches or something that is stuck in your eye.

Conditions that Minor Injuries Units cannot treat include:

  • chest pain
  • respiratory problems
  • abdominal pain
  • gynaecological problems
  • pregnancy problems
  • drug overdose
  • alcohol related problems
  • mental health problems, and
  • health conditions that would normally be treated by your GP or hospital.

There are a number of ways of assessing and treating minor injuries and ailments. If you are unsure whether to seek medical advice, please phone 111 and ask for guidance. Alternatively, you can visit NHS Choices’ A-Z of health conditions and treatments.

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