PEOPLE in Exeter, East and Mid Devon are being encouraged to get in touch with their family doctor if they have a health need that’s not an emergency.

Hospitals in England are currently seeing a higher than usual number of people presenting to emergency departments and this is creating pressures in the healthcare system.

Dr David Jenner, a GP from Devon and chair of the Eastern Locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said it was important that people chose the right healthcare service to meet their needs.

“If people have a health need that’s not an emergency they should visit or call their GP practice or pharmacy,” he said. “They could also consider a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre if they have a minor injury or illness, or call NHS 111.

“Hospital emergency departments (A&E) in Devon see approximately 300,000 patients every year, and some of these people present with common illnesses or ailments that could be treated elsewhere.

“Some people could have quite safely taken care of themselves with basic self-care, first aid and advice.”

NEW Devon CCG has issued some handy tips to 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: 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 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

• 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.