NHS leaders are urging people in Devon to do their bit to relieve pressure at busy hospitals by using the NHS 111 phone service and local urgent treatment centres and minor injury units over half term. 

Hospital emergency departments in the region are currently seeing very high demand and many have ambulances outside waiting to handover patients.

Other parts of the NHS healthcare system have capacity to look after people with less severe needs to allow A&E departments to focus on those who need help the most.

Staff at NHS111 can direct people to minor injuries units and urgent treatment centres. 

This will ensure people get to the right place for treatment quickly and may reduce their waiting times.

Parents can get advice on common childhood illnesses on the HANDi paediatric app and are being urged to download the app to access quick and convenient advice.

Many minor conditions and symptoms can be managed at home without seeking further advice. 

Visit the NHS website www.nhs.uk for a complete guide to conditions, symptoms and treatments, including what to do and when to get help.

Dr Nigel Acheson, Chief Medical Officer, said: ‘Our hospitals have been seeing extremely high numbers of people attending this week and this is putting pressure on our emergency departments.

‘With half-term coming this week, we know that families may be out doing more outdoor activities and enjoying everything Devon has to offer. 

‘But if you get sick or injured, there are other services available to help locally, saving our busy EDs for the most serious cases.

‘Help us to help you.’

Anyone needing urgent medical advice when GP surgeries are closed, visit111.nhs.uk or call 111 which can refer into emergency departments or direct to urgent treatment centres and minor injury units if needed.