The bank holiday weekend is nearly upon us and this is a time where urgent care services traditionally become stretched.
Here are some of the things you can do to help keep our Emergency Department free to treat the most urgent and critical cases:
Many common ailments (such as coughs, colds, sore throats, headaches and minor cuts) are best treated at home, with the help of over-the-counter medicines.
These types of medicine don’t require you to see a doctor and are widely available at supermarkets and pharmacies.
Speaking of Pharmacies
Many people underestimate the range of advice and services they can receive from their community pharmacist. They are an expert source of advice and will use their professional judgement to advise you on the best course of action.
Within the added benefit of typically being ‘on your doorstep’, pharmacies can provide a fast route to medication for minor ailments like aches and pains, sun burn, hay fever, coughs, earache and skin rashes. Pharmacies are open until late, as well as on weekends and you don’t need an appointment.
A full list of pharmacies and bank holiday opening hours can be found on the NHS England website.
This is the first port-of-call if you or a loved one need help fast but are unsure, confused or worried about where to go to get it.
It is a free 24/7 service offering trusted advice on seeking urgent help and can connect you to a nurse, an emergency dentist or even a GP.
NHS 111 can be accessed online at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 and speaking with a fully trained adviser.
Minor Injury Units (MIU)
A Minor Injury Unit is an alternative to an Emergency Department when an injury is not considered life-threatening, but still requires urgent treatment.
They can see a range of minor injuries and minor illnesses, have on-site x-ray facilities and can typically see you within two hours.
A minor injury unit is able to treat:
- Small burns or scalds
- Bites and stings
- Sprains and certain fractures (upper and lower limbs)
- Minor head injuries
- Infected wounds
- Foreign bodies in eyes
Plymouth’s MIU is based in the Cumberland Centre in Devonport, open from 08:30 to 22:00 every day. The Trust also runs MIUs in Kingsbridge and Tavistock (which is temporarily closed until November due to staff shortages).
If you find yourself a little further afield this weekend, there are also MIUs in Bodmin, Dawlish, Launceston, Liskeard, Newton Abbot, Okehampton and Totnes.
999 or the Emergency Department are best used in an emergency for serious or life-threatening situations (such as severe bleeding, breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness and severe chest pain).
You are able to check live waiting times for the Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital on the Trust's website.