Emergency Department

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Article: Medical mythbusters – the Emergency Department | March 27, 2019

There is a full consultant led Emergency Department service at the North Devon District Hospital, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The service is for the treatment of people who have a severe illness or injury.

Examples of illness and injury that require treatment in the Emergency Department are:

  • Being unconscious or unresponsive
  • Severe bleeding
  • Newly broken bones
  • Deep or severe wounds
  • A suspected heart attack
  • Difficulty in breathing

What happens in the Emergency Department

People arrive at the Emergency Department either by ambulance or by their own means. Everyone is booked in by a receptionist and will then be assessed by a senior triage nurse. The triage nurse will decide how urgently you require treatment, can provide pain killers and may request x-rays. Some people require immediate life or limb saving treatment. Depending on the severity of their problem and how many other people are in the department other people may need to wait longer.
It may be that the Emergency Department is not the best place to care for you. In this case the triage nurse will direct you to the appropriate service. Examples of services which the triage nurse may direct you to are:

  • Your own GP
  • A local GP who will register holiday makers as a temporary resident
  • The GP out of hours service
  • Liaison or on call psychiatry
  • Ophthalmology out patients

Contact us

The department can be contacted by telephoning 01271 322 577 and asking for the Emergency Department. We cannot give healthcare advice over the telephone.

Other local urgent care services

In addition to Emergency departments other services are available across Devon for the treatment of less severe illnesses or injuries.

Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) provide treatment for less serious injuries, such as broken bones, sprains and wounds. If your injury is not serious, it’s usually better for you to go to a MIU if there is one in your local area. Information on the MIUs run by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust can be found here.

Devon Doctors is the out of hours GP service for Devon. They are open from 18:00 until 08:00. They see patients who can best be cared for by a GP. They can be contacted via NHS 111 by telephoning 111.


Last updated: July 20, 2022