Devon health services warn of 'extreme pressures' on emergency departments

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The health and care service across Devon is under extreme pressure and people are being urged to only seek emergency treatment if they are in a "potentially life-threatening emergency."

The service has seen high demand for services, sustained demand for Covid beds, pressure on staffing and exceeding need for social care.

Waiting times for the emergency departments at Derriford Hospital have risen to record levels with some people waiting more than 11 hours for treatment.

Dr Paul Johnson, Clinical Chair of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The NHS throughout Devon is under a significant strain at the moment because there is a large number of people needing emergency care. 

“There’s a large number of people in hospital who are waiting to get home, but they need carers to support them and we haven’t got those carers available.

"This means those people coming to the hospital needing care are struggling to be seen in a timely way and then we are struggling to get them into a ward and on to a bed where we can get them the care and investigations they need."

NHS bosses are encouraging people to consider alternatives to emergency departments such as your pharmacist and NHS 111 when seeking medical care.

People with family members ready to be discharged are also being asked to pick them up as quickly as possible to make beds available for others.