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Choosing the right healthcare this summer

Published: 29 July 2015

Now that we’re in the main holiday season, our local area is bustling with holiday makers and those on their summer break from school. Health professionals in Torbay and South Devon are therefore appealing to local people to choose the right healthcare to make sure they get the treatment and advice they need promptly.

There are number of options available and patients are asked to consider the right one for them. To save you time if and when you need to seek treatment or advice you are advised to have a list to hand of your local pharmacy, minor injury unit and GP contact details. All the details are available on

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 both mobiles and landlines.

Guidance about health services you can choose from includes:

If you are suffering from a minor ailment such as coughs and colds a good place to visit is your local pharmacy. Community pharmacies can provide expert advice and are a vital place for patients to go to get advice and treatment for minor ailments without needing to visit your GP first.

Minor Injury Unit
We have a number of Minor Injury Units across Torbay and South Devon that can provide treatment for a whole range of injuries such as broken bones and sprains as well as burns and scalds. If you or a family member suffers an injury that requires treatment you should always consider attending a Minor Injury Unit to get expert treatment quickly.

You can find details of where they are and when they are open at – most are open every day of the year including all Bank Holidays.

Emergency Department (A&E)
You should only attend the Emergency Department if it is a life-threatening emergency, such as:

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

Using the Emergency Department appropriately will allow staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait.

There have been a very high number of people attending Torbay Hospital’s Emergency Department recently, including some with a range of minor complaints which could have been treated more appropriately and effectively elsewhere.

Torbay Hospital’s Medical Director, Dr John Lowes, said: “Choosing the most appropriate NHS service this summer 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 advised to see your GP or a pharmacist.

“Whilst no one can predict an emergency, if it does happen please do act fast. We are finding that a number of people are deciding to not act quickly possibly because they are hoping to avoid having to attend the Emergency Department. As a result we are seeing a big increase in people attending late at night when they could have sought treatment earlier. If the illness or accident means you have to seek emergency treatment please don’t delay.

“Our plea is that if you suffer an emergency call 999 or attend the Emergency Department straightaway. If it is not an emergency then please use one the other services available in Torbay and South Devon to get fast and appropriate treatment.”

Further information

Minor injuries units can treat:

  • sprains and strains
  • broken bones
  • wound infections
  • minor burns and scalds
  • minor head injuries
  • insect and animal bites
  • minor eye injuries
  • injuries to the back, shoulder and chest

For further information on see Minor Injuries Units