Doctors in Devon are providing essential advice to people across the county on how to choose the right service for them if they feel unwell this August Bank Holiday weekend.
GP practices will be not be offering same-day appointments on Monday 31 August for the bank holiday, but other services are available for local people and visitors with urgent health needs over the holiday period:
- NHS 111 – click on nhs.uk (for people aged over five only) or call 111 if you’re feeling unwell, unsure or if you need health advice and guidance in non-life-threatening emergencies – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses and injuries like a coughs, colds, grazes, small cuts or a sore throat. They can be treated at home or in holiday accommodation with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.
- Pharmacists advise and treat illnesses like hay fever, diarrhoea, earache, painful cough, sticky eye, teething and rashes – and by visiting your pharmacy you can avoid an unnecessary trip to your GP or A&E and save time. Find your nearest pharmacy here: nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy/
- Minor Injury Services – like Minor Injury Units and Walk-in Centres, always check local arrangements.
- NHS website – nhs.uk – always available for advice and guidance.
- Urgent Mental Health Support – If you are an adult and need urgent mental health support, call: Devon and Torbay 0300 555 5000; Plymouth 01752 434922 (24 hours), Children and young people under 18, parents and carers in Plymouth can call 01752 435122
- A&E/999 are for emergencies or serious or life-threatening conditions like severe bleeding, breathing difficulties, severe chest pain and loss of consciousness. A&E departments are not an alternative to a GP appointment.
- GP practices will resume normal services on Tuesday 1 September. For non-urgent requests, submit an online form, also known as an eConsult, on your GP practice website and they will picked up after the bank holiday. Limited appointments continue at practices during the bank holiday weekend through the extended access programme, but these are only bookable in advance.
- The HANDI paediatric app is available for parents to use when their children are ill.
Dr Shelagh McCormick, a Plymouth-based GP and member of Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body, said: “Access to some services might be slightly different due to the range of measures in place to keep people safe but we need people to choose the right service for their needs.
“The NHS in Devon is very busy at the moment and demand is forecast to increase over the bank holiday weekend. By choosing the right service for their needs, people in Devon are making best use of local services, which in turn helps patients with the highest levels of need to get the medical attention they need.”