Home Page

Hospitals in Devon are extremely busy today

Image with red background and white writing which says 'Hospitals in Devon are extremely busy today'

Hospitals in Devon are preparing to take all measures necessary to ensure the sickest patients get the help they need as industrial action by doctors continues.

A walk-out by junior doctors from 7am on Wednesday 20 September until 7am on Saturday 23 September has left many hospitals facing difficulties in filling rotas, especially over the next two evenings (Thursday and Friday).

Although consultants ended their separate 48-hour strike on Thursday morning, there remain far fewer clinical staff in hospital emergency departments than usual and the NHS in Devon has now entered OPEL 4 – the highest level of escalation – in light of the continued pressures.

All partners across the county’s health and care system have been working hard to take action to mitigate the disruption caused by the strikes but are now preparing to deploy further measures if they are needed in coming days.

This could involve people in Devon who aren’t critically ill being re-directed from hospital emergency departments to other services to allow the reduced number of staff on shift to care for the patients most in need of emergency treatment. This means clinicians assessing all those arriving and, where a patient’s needs can be safely met by a different service or at a different time, they will be redirected to that service.

Ambulances who attend call-outs across Devon and parts of South East Cornwall may need to take patients to an emergency department that isn’t their local hospital where they may be seen sooner, depending on the needs of the patient and the pressures in the EDs at the time. The advice to local people who use Devon’s hospitals is:

  • If you have a life-threatening emergency – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk – you should still call 999 immediately.
  • Patients who require urgent treatment, but do not have symptoms of a life-threatening condition, should call 111 or use the 111 service online.
  • If you attend ED, you will be seen by a clinician but you may be re-directed to another service if you do not require urgent care.
  • Make use of community pharmacies, which can advise on minor illnesses and provide medications.
  • For anyone who needs urgent mental health support:
    • Devon County Council and Torbay Council areas
      • If you are aged 18 or over and experiencing a mental health crisis you can call Mental Health Matters on 0800 47 00 317 or visit your local Mooring (Torquay, Exeter and Barnstaple).
      • If you have no physical health problem and feel like you urgently need to call 999 or attend A&E, the First Response Service is there for you 0808 196 8708.
      • Full information on support can be found at www.dpt.nhs.uk
    • Plymouth City Council area
      • First Response is Plymouth’s 24/7 mental health crisis line. Staff are on hand to provide support to you or a loved one in a mental health crisis: 0800 923 9323
    • South East Cornwall
      • Cornwall has a 24hr mental health crisis helpline: 0800 038 5300

Devon’s Chief Medical Officer Nigel Acheson said: “We have been doing everything we can to keep patients and colleagues safe through this period of extreme pressure due to the industrial action.

“We are ready to put in place all measures needed to make sure we can look after the people who most desperately need our help. We are counting on the understanding of local people at this difficult time and we encourage everyone to follow the advice we are giving today.”

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?

Please answer the question below, this helps us to reduce the number of spam emails that we receive so that we can spend more time responding to genuine enquiries and feedback. Thank you.


Our site uses cookies to help give you a better experience. If you choose not to accept these cookies, our site will still work correctly but some content may not display. You can read our cookie policy here

Please choose a setting: