1. ITV Report

Hospitals in Devon ready for another busy winter

Minor injury units can take the pressure off hospitals Photo: ITV News

NHS bosses in Devon say they are bracing themselves for yet another busy winter, with hospital admissions expected to spike as the weather turns cold.

Health trusts have drawn up detailed plans for the coming months, diverting patients away from packed A&E departments and offering online consultations with local GPs.

But doctors say many people are still confused about where to go for the right sort of treatment.

Shelagh McCormick says GPs are stretched Credit: ITV News

Winter is sort of a year-round business in health. As soon as we finish with one winter we're looking ahead to the next one to make sure that we've planned the services appropriately, what new services do we need to build in. Every winter is going to get more and more busy, we have also got an ageing population, people are getting sicker and sicker.

– Shelagh McCormick, Plymouth GP

Some GP surgeries are able to extend their opening hours this year thanks to extra money from the Government, and more services are now available online. But the sector remains extremely stretched.

Hospitals were also hit hard by the weather back in February and March, with appointments and operations cancelled and A&E departments struggling to keep up.

Deirdre Molloy manages the Newton Abbot Minor Injury Unit Credit: ITV News

The emergency departments need to concentrate on those patients who are acutely unwell, who have got significant injuries or who are having cardiac events. So the minor injury units can actually take those people who have got broken bones, where people have tripped up and fallen or have either broken their ankle or their wrist, people who have cut their heads.

We can take all those people who would have previously gone to the emergency departments with injuries and see them in other facilities.

– Deirdre Molloy, Minor Injuries Unit manager

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