Doctors from Plymouth are urging local people to speak to their family doctor or call NHS 111 if they have a non-emergency health issue.
They have also reminded people that minor illnesses or ailments could also be treated at Plymouth’s minor injuries unit (MIU), which is located at the Cumberland Centre in the city’s Devonport area. The MIU is open 365 days a year, from 8:30am – 9pm.
Examples of problems that can be treated at the MIU are:
- Cuts - we can use glue, steristrips (paper stitches) or sutures to close wounds
- Small burns or scalds
- Bites and stings
- Sprains and certain fractures
- Minor head injuries (except patients under 1 year old or over 65 years, or if knocked out, who must attend a hospital emergency department)
- Infected wounds
- Foreign bodies in eyes.
There are also two 100-hour pharmacies in Plymouth: i) Sainsbury’s in Manadon; ii) Asda in Plymouth.
Dr Stephen Harris, a GP from Western Devon and vice chair of the Western Locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), urged people to make the best use of the NHS’s non-emergency services as possible to avoid creating unnecessary pressures at emergency departments, such as at Derriford Hospital.
“The hospital emergency departments in Devon see about 300,000 patients every year, a number of which have common illnesses or ailments that are better treated elsewhere,” he said.
“Many of these patients could have instead been seen and treated quicker by visiting their GP or phoning the surgery. They could have also visited the Cumberland Centre MIU if they had a minor injury or ailment. Out of hours they could have phoned NHS 111.
“Some people could have quite safely taken care of themselves with basic self-care, first aid and advice.”
NEW Devon CCG has issued a reminder of handy tips for people in the city to help them choose the right NHS service for them.
- Try your family or self-care - for minor illnesses, combine medicines for coughs, colds or flu with plenty of rest.
- Pharmacist/chemist - pharmacists are trained to help people with minor illnesses and can advise on medicine that can be bought over the counter. Your nearest pharmacy can be found here: www.nhs.uk. Some pharmacies are open extended hours.
- NHS 111 – for non-emergency health needs, 24 hours a day, as well as help to find services. Go to www.nhs.uk or call 111.
- NHS minor injuries unit (MIU) - for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries, without an appointment. For details of your nearest MIU, go to www.nhs.uk. The Plymouth MIU is based at the Cumberland Centre in Devonport, near Plymouth Albion rugby club – set your sat nav to PL1 4JZ.
- Family doctor – Your local general GP surgery provides a wide range of family health services, including: advice on health problems, vaccinations, examinations and treatment, prescriptions for medicines, referrals to other health services and social services. Your surgery will make sure you get to speak to a healthcare professional on the same day if you have an urgent condition.
- Hospital emergency departments or 999 – please only attend hospital emergency departments if you have an immediate and serious problem that cannot be dealt with by the other services. 999 only for critical or life-threatening situations.