As part of the response to pandemic, the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly it has introduced a new system for people who need urgent – but not emergency – medical care.
For people living in or visiting the beautiful county who need NHS care are asked to contact their own GP first. They are best placed to help you and with telephone and video appointments, where you are isn’t as important.
However, when your GP is not open, including during the bank holiday, and you don’t think it can wait, contact NHS 111 online or by phone, at any time of day or night.
Experienced clinicians will direct you to the most appropriate service, as close as possible to where you are staying.
John Garman, GP and a member of NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body, said: “While there has been a significant increase in visitors seeking urgent care in recent days, the number of people accessing health care services, compared to the same period last year, remains lower.
“We have also seen a huge increase in the number of people calling or going online to contact 111 for urgent but not emergency medical advice. More staff are being brought in to manage this demand.
“The best way visitors can ease pressure on all our health and care services is, if they have a non-life-threatening illness, which they can’t manage themselves with over the counter medicines or a visit to the pharmacy, to contact their home GP as the first point of call. Since the start of the pandemic GPs across the country have been offering telephone and video appointment as the new normal and this is still the best way to seek medical advice for illness or injury.
“Simple steps such as applying sun lotion, antihistamines and paracetamol can help to avoid unnecessary calls to seek medical advice later.
“Pharmacists are open across the county during the bank holiday weekend and available to provide expert, confidential advice and over the counter remedies for minor injuries as well as (uncomplicated) urinary tract infections, conjunctivitis, nappy rash and impetigo. They can also arrange urgent medication if visitors run out or forget their prescribed medication.”
Dr Garman added: “Please help keep everyone in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly safe from COVID by following social distancing regulations and wearing facemasks where needed.””
More than 1,000 people visited the emergency department across the 4 days (Friday 23 to Monday 26) of August Bank Holiday last year.
Dr Toby Slade, emergency department consultant at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, said: “This is all about keeping people safe in a COVID world, when we need to maintain distance and can’t have lots of people just turning up at the emergency department in an uncontrolled way. Cornwall is one of the first parts of the country to try out the system, given that we know lots of visitors have chosen the county as their staycation.
“Those who turn up at the emergency department without referral from NHS 111 may be asked to go elsewhere for treatment.”
Arrangements have not changed for people with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Please dial 999.