Devon health services under pressure People asked to, “help us help you.”

Published: 30 September 2022

Devon’s health and social care system is under extreme pressure today and expected to be throughout this weekend, meaning people are facing longer than usual waits in our Emergency Departments. Rising COVID-19 numbers, high demand for services and delays to discharging people from hospital are all contributing to pressure on the system.

People are being urged to do their bit to help support services by choosing the best service for their needs if they are ill or injured, staying at home if they have the symptoms of an infectious illness such as norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug), flu or COVID-19 and by picking up any family or friends promptly when they are ready to be discharged from hospital.

NHS Devon’s Chief Nurse, Darryn Allcorn said: “If you do attend an emergency department and it isn’t a life-threatening emergency you may be directed to a more appropriate service. We ask you to be understanding that this is because there are other people who are in much more urgent need of our care.

“We are also urging family and friends of people in hospital to pick up their loved ones as soon as possible when they are ready to be discharged and the hospital has contacted them.”

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please consider whether you do need to attend an emergency department. Patients with a potentially life-threatening emergency are actively encouraged to attend ED. If it’s not a life-threatening emergency there are other places to seek help.
  • Please pick up friends or relatives from hospital as soon as they are well enough to be discharged and the hospital have contacted you. This frees up a bed for other patients who need them. Use the HANDi paediatric app for advice on common childhood illnesses and when to seek help.
  • Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as upset stomachs, earache, skin rashes and for relief of coughs and colds.
  • Use NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly and can’t wait to see your GP. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu if you are eligible.
  • Stay at home and particularly don’t visit hospitals if you have symptoms of an infectious illness such as COVID, flu or norovirus (known as the winter vomiting bug).