‘Don’t stay away from A&E if you need help’ - Devon’s NHS reassures patients over emergency treatments
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NHS hospital teams across Devon are reassuring local people that emergency services for non-Covid-19 related conditions are available if they need help.
Doctors are concerned that some people who should be getting medical treatment are staying away from hospital because they fear they might catch the virus.
Attendances have fallen by more than a third at emergency departments across the county, in line with national trends.
Some of this may be because people are acting responsibly and getting advice elsewhere.
However, the numbers of people being admitted to hospitals with serious problems such as heart problems and strokes are substantially reduced, suggesting that some cases are not being diagnosed.
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There are also fears that children with potentially serious illnesses are not receiving treatment because their parents are worried about exposing them to the virus if they take the children to hospital.
Dr Rob Dyer, lead medical director for Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, said: “Although it is helpful that the pressure on our hospitals has been reduced by people keeping away unless they really need to attend, we are concerned that some people who would benefit from urgent medical help may not be receiving it.
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“It is understandable that people may be worried about coming to hospitals at this time. However, we want people to know that precautionary measures are in place and that there are real dangers in not seeking help for serious conditions.
“Covid-19 is putting the NHS under a lot of pressure, but children still get sick and we want you to connect with us when this happens.”
In many cases those affected by the virus are being seen in separate areas of hospitals, and there are special arrangements in A&E to protect visitors from infection.
GP practices remain open, although some consultations are taking place via phone or video instead of in person. People needing to see a GP should contact the surgery by phone or via its website.
However, people who are self-isolating because of Covid-19 should not attend routine hospital appointments.
Visit www.nhs.uk for more information on what to do if you are unwell.