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Home > News > Make the right choice to stay well and keep the emergency department free for emergencies this bank holiday

Make the right choice to stay well and keep the emergency department free for emergencies this bank holiday

Doctors in Devon have issued useful advice on staying well over the bank holiday weekend as well as guidance on choosing the right service if you need professional healthcare.

GP surgeries will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday – 28 August – but there is a wide range of services available which provide fast and effective health advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. Only serious life-threatening conditions need a trip to the emergency department.

Dr John Womersely, a GP in Ilfracombe and chair of the northern locality of NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS NEW Devon CCG), said: “Our hospital A&E departments are currently very busy, so we’d ask that you only visit in an emergency.

“A&E departments need to be able to concentrate on the most seriously ill and injured patients, so if it’s not an emergency please visit or phone your GP practice, pharmacy, minor injuries unit or NHS 111.

“Before you decide to visit A&E, please stop and ask yourself – ‘could I be seen by my GP or a pharmacist about this?’ Making sure cabinets are stocked with over-the-counter medicines is a good way people can avoid having to use stretched NHS services.”

Healthcare options this bank holiday include:

  • NHS 111: The helpline is open 24 hours a day and is staffed by trained individuals who will advise and guide you to the right service.
  • Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) are an alternative to attending accident and emergency when an injury is not considered life-threatening, but still requires urgent treatment, without the need for an appointment. They are run by nurse practitioners who can treat injuries like cuts, small burns or scalds, bites and stings, sprains and certain fractures, minor head injuries and foreign bodies in eyes.

Find your nearest MIU and its opening times here

  • Pharmacists can offer quick, early advice to patients who feel unwell and they can now provide some medicines usually only available on prescription. Many have private consulting rooms too. Find your nearest pharmacy and check opening times here

  • If you take regular medication, ensure you have enough to cover the long weekend and request repeat prescriptions in advance if necessary.
  • Stock your medicine cabinet with over-the-counter remedies for ailments such as headaches, stomach upsets, cuts, grazes and stings and indigestion, including remedies for children.
  • If you have children, download the HANDi Paediatric app for guidance on how to treat them, available here

  • Check out NHS Choices here for advice on symptoms, treatments and where to get help.

Please see the following locations and opening for minor injuries units and walk-in centres, where no appointments are necessary

Location Address Type Opening times Frequency
Bideford Bideford Community Hospital, Abbotsham Rd, Bideford EX39 3AG MIU 8.30am-8.30pm Every day
Lynton Lynton Resource Centre, Devon EX35 6HA MIU 8am-6pm


weekdays weekends
Exeter 31 Sidwell St, Exeter EX4 6NN Walk-in centre 8am-4pm


Mon – Fri Sat – Sun
Exeter Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital,  Barrack Road, Exeter  EX2 5DW Walk-in centre 7am-10pm Every day