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A Consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust says attendances to the Emergency Department are on the increase.

The Trust saw 318 patients on Monday 18 May, in stark contrast to the lower number of attendances in the first few weeks of lockdown.

Beth Newstead from UHP said: “When lockdown began, attendances were very low and we were worried we weren’t seeing those people who needed urgent help. However, attendances are now on the increase.

“We have to be careful that we don’t become as crowded as we used to be. Reducing footfall on the main site is essential to keep people safe and ensure we are social distancing in the department.”

“Please ensure you have considered other options before attending so we can help those with an urgent medical need or having a traumatic emergency to receive the best possible care.”

Examples where it is right and appropriate to attend the Emergency Department without delay include falls from a considerable height, major head injuries, collapse, severe breathing difficulty, severe chest pain, severe haemorrhage, poisoning, extensive burns.

The Trust also reported an increase in people attending with acute mental health needs. A new First Response helpline launched by Livewell Southwest is available giving support in Plymouth 24 hours a day to those over 18 on 01752 434922. A crisis line for those under 18 is also available 24/7 on 01752 435122.

Please consider there are lots of conditions that can be cared for outside of the Emergency Department. These alternative locations include the Minor Injury Units (MIUs) at the Cumberland Centre in Devonport and Tavistock, GP services, local pharmacies and by calling NHS Direct on 111.

All patients ‘self-presenting’ to either Derriford or Nuffield Minor Injury Unit will have their temperature taken on arrival to screen for the virus. If you have been self-isolating due to symptoms of the virus, please call 111 and do not attend the Nuffield site.

If you have a life-threatening emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance.

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