Hospitals warn NHS in Devon is 'under extreme pressure'

NHS managers in Devon are warning people to only come to the county's emergency departments if they have a life-threatening condition, saying Devon's NHS is currently under 'extreme pressure'.

 According to health leaders, NHS services in the county are being impacted by:

  • A big rise in people with flu, COVID-19 and other respiratory conditions

  • A rise in people with norovirus, known as the 'winter vomiting bug'

  • Parents worried about invasive Group A Strep

  • People affected by the recent cold weather, including those who have had accidents

Prof Mark Hamilton, Chief Medical Officer at University Hospitals Plymouth, said "The message is be kind to those people that are trying to care for you. It's a difficult time for everybody. There are still many options for people to use: to access 111 [the NHS helpline], access their pharmacy, and their primary care and general practice, before they try and come to the emergency department."

Prof Hamilton added that Devon was working hard to improve its capacity in these areas.

Devon has four hospital emergency departments: at North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, Torbay District Hospital in Torquay, the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in Exeter, and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.