NHS bank holiday help plea

RESIDENTS in the Sidmouth and Ottery areas have been urged to choose the appropriate NHS service for fast and effective treatment over this August Bank Holiday weekend.

Health chiefs say the emergency department at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital sees about 94,000 patients every year – and a number have common illnesses or ailments.

They said many of these patients could have avoided A&E by getting expert advice and quicker access to treatment from other services like NHS Direct, a local pharmacist, or their own GP.

“Some could have quite safely taken care of themselves with just basic self-care, first aid and advice,” said an NHS spokesperson.

“During bank holidays there is usually a large increase in the number of people who make unnecessary calls to emergency services and the Devon Doctors out-of-hours service. This creates a problem for people who have a real need for these services.

“If you are in doubt over where to get treatment it is advisable to contact NHS Direct as this could save time spent in waiting rooms.

“One of the best ways to avoid injury or illness spoiling your fun this weekend is to stock up on medicines beforehand.”

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Pharmacy opening hours are available at www.devonpct.nhs.uk.

For general health advice call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk .

In an emergency call 999 immediately or go to your nearest accident and emergency department.