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Help us help those most in need this Easter

Devon's hospitals are expected to be extremely busy this Easter weekend

Ahead of Easter, University Hospitals Plymouth is reminding people who attend the Emergency Department that they will be assessed and may be encouraged to use a minor injury unit or call 111 instead, during the long bank holiday weekend.

Minor Injury Units are an alternative when an injury is not considered life-threatening, but still requires urgent treatment. They can see a range of minor injuries and minor illnesses and can typically see you within two hours.

Opening hours are as follows:

Easter traditionally puts extra pressure on health services with more people outdoors enjoying everything Devon and Cornwall has to offer. Beth Newstead, a Consultant in Derriford’s Emergency Department said: “University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is a major trauma centre providing specialist services for the southwest peninsula and receives some of the most acutely unwell patients.

“We want to help people understand the pressures that the whole care system is under which includes the ability to discharge our patients into the community and the availability of space at the Trust due to covid restricted wards.

“In the Emergency Department this translates into ambulances waiting in the car park, as patients who need to be admitted are waiting for beds to become available. This results in long waits for some people to be seen and we need to reserve our Emergency Department space for those patients who need our services the most.

“We continue to ensure patients are prioritised in order of clinical need and are seen in the shortest timeframe possible. This includes the most seriously ill and injured patients who cannot be seen anywhere else in the system, patients with chest pain, patients with signs and symptoms of a stroke, patients with significant bleeding and patients with serious trauma.

“We really, really want to be there for all these patients. Our teams continue to work tirelessly and around-the-clock to be here for when you need us most so please help us by thinking about whether there may be an alternative destination rather than the Emergency Department.”

Most GP practices will be closed for Easter for four days from Friday 15 April to Monday 18 April, with normal opening hours resuming on Tuesday. Each Easter sees many patients calling the NHS 111 helpline because they have run out of medication, leading to unnecessary worry for themselves and increasing pressure on busy urgent care and out-of-hours NHS services. People are reminded to be prepared and check that they have enough prescription medication to get through the long weekend and any trips away.

For urgent advice, the message is to ‘Think 111 first’. NHS 111 can be contacted from anywhere by phone or online, at any time of day or night. They can also book appointments and check opening times for your nearest Minor Injury Unit or Urgent Treatment Centre.  For more information about when to come to the Emergency Department and when to visit an Urgent Treatment Centre or Minor Injuries Unit, visit our Stay Well portal

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