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Covid-19 Spring booster jabs

Posted on March 22nd, 2022

Everything you need to know about the spring booster in Devon.

Spring booster jabs are being offered to people at greatest risk of COVID-19 infection from Monday 21 March in the latest phase of the vaccine programme.

An additional Covid-19 vaccine dose is being offered as a precaution to people in Devon who are at extreme high risk from COVID-19 infection, many of whom had their first booster six months ago. This will help protect them if COVID-19 rates are high over the summer months and reduce their chances of needing hospital treatment if they do catch the virus.

The best time to have the spring booster is around six months after the previous booster, although the minimum interval is three months.

Leigh Mansfield, Programme director for the Vaccination Services at the Exeter COVID-19 Vaccination Centre (Greendale), said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming people back for their spring boosters.

“Our teams of staff and volunteers will be on hand to help and answer your questions. With continued high levels of COVID-19 in the community, we encourage those who are eligible to take up the offer to help protect them over the coming months.

“Those who can’t make it to a vaccination centre can be assured that our colleagues across Devon are visiting communities to ensure they are up to date with their boosters.

“It’s not too late for anyone who hasn’t yet had their first, second or first booster doses to come forward.”

Who can have the spring booster?

The groups eligible for the spring booster are:

  • People aged 75 and older
  • Residents in a care home for older adults, and
  • People aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed (have a weakened immune system) – this includes people in different groups including those with underlying health conditions such as chronic leukaemia or lymphoma, and those who have had immunosuppressive treatment following an organ transplant or have had radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

How to have the booster

You can have the booster either at a walk-in clinic or booked appointment. Outreach clinics will visit sites across Devon. People in care homes will have their vaccination

You can find your nearest walk-in clinic on NHS England’s site finder here. Appointments can be booked from 21 March via the National Booking System.

People can book a month in advance and must have had their first booster at least three months before the date of their spring booster.

If you have had COVID-19 you should ideally wait four weeks before having your spring booster. You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating or waiting for a COVID-19 test.

People who are housebound and managers of care homes for older people will be contacted by an appropriate NHS Team to arrange a visit.

Common side effects

 As with previous doses, the common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK and include a sore arm, tiredness, headache and mild flu symptoms.

You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help you feel better.

Although a fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and you may need to have a test.

Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you can call NHS 111 or for textphone use 18001 111. You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme.

Further information

There is more information on booster vaccinations on the NHS website.

An information leaflet on the Spring booster vaccination is available to download.

COVID-19 inpatient numbers approach new high.Numbers double in a fortnight

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 in Devon has risen to 292, with a further 37 patients awaiting test results; double the figure from a fortnight ago and higher than at any other point in the pandemic.  High COVID-19 numbers are having a very significant impact across Devon’s health and care system.

The last time COVID-19 numbers were this high was in January 2021, before most people had the benefit of COVID-19 vaccines.

Four COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive care, far fewer than previously, thanks to the success of the incredible COVID-19 vaccine programme.  However, many people have tested positive for COVID-19 while in hospital for other conditions, this has led to patients who are already vulnerable, becoming more unwell and impacted on the ability to admit other patients.

Ian Currie, Medical Director, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We currently have more patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals than almost any time during the pandemic. While it is encouraging that the majority of our patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 are in hospital for other conditions and are asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms the impact that the presence of COVID-19 has in our hospitals is really significant.

“Under current infection prevention and control guidelines, one patient testing positive for COVID-19 can result in the closure of the whole ward, meaning that beds are unavailable for emergency admissions and for planned operations. This means people waiting longer for treatment in the community and operations being cancelled or postponed and long waits in Emergency Departments for people needing a hospital bed.”

NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group Medical Director, Dr Paul Johnson said, “These incredibly high numbers of patients with COVID-19 has a huge impact on the NHS ability to carry out planned care for patients who have already had long waits due to the pandemic.

“Our staff are working incredibly hard and doing everything they can to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within hospitals, but it is essential that people support us.  Please do not come in to visit if you feel unwell or have Covid and you must still wear a face covering, unless you are exempt.”

Recorded Covid case rates in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay are around 750 per 100,000, well above the England average of 542 per 100,000. This has led to a sharp increase in the number of staff absence.  Almost 1200 NHS staff are currently off work due to COVID-19.

Devon’s hospitals are not alone in experiencing huge pressure from outbreaks and staff absences.  The situation is mirrored across the entire health and care system.

183 care services, such as care homes and other social care providers currently have Covid outbreaks.  This also adds to the complexity of discharging patients from hospital who need onward care and means people stay in hospital for longer than needed.

People urged to stay away if they have Covid as Devon’s hospitals remain under severe pressure.

  • Masks still required in healthcare settings to protect patients and staff
  • High demand for emergency care and 200+ Covid patients in local hospitals
  • People urged to choose the right service for their needs to reduce NHS pressure

“Please don’t visit friends and family in our hospitals if you have Covid or other illnesses” – that’s the message from Devon’s NHS, as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 remains high.

Many of the restrictions brought in to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in the community have come to an end, but people are still required to wear a mask in health settings and are being asked to wash and sanitise their hands.

And anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 or other illnesses that can spread easily, such as flu or norovirus, is urged not to visit patients in hospital.

Hospital trusts in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay are continuing to maintain enhanced infection prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and health bosses are asking the public to play their part. The continued high level of infection in the community means patients are at risk of catching Covid-19 from visitors.

Dr Paul Johnson, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group Chair and Devon Medical Director said: “Many of our patients are very vulnerable to infection and we need to keep them safe. If you are unwell with Covid, flu or norovirus please do not come into hospital.

“You are still required to wear a mask in health settings and we ask that you respect these rules and are patient with our volunteers and staff if they ask you to comply with them.

“We know visits from friends and family can play a role in helping patients recover so we want to maintain good access for visitors – but we need local people to do their bit by staying away if they are ill, and taking safety measures if they visit.”

Currently over 200 people are in hospital in Devon with Covid-19, which means that beds aren’t available for other patients who need them. For each Covid-19 inpatient the NHS in Devon postpones, on average, eight planned procedures.

Where possible, patients should attend appointments alone. People who want to visit a friend or family member in hospital should check the trust’s website for the latest visitor guidance.

As it continues to experience high demand in hospital Emergency Departments (ED), the NHS is also asking people to choose the right service for their needs:

  • Keep the Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency) for emergencies. If your condition is not an emergency, choose a different service. You may have to wait a bit longer for treatment if it isn’t urgent.
  • Use your local pharmacist for minor conditions such as insect bites, ear ache, skin rashes.
  • Use the HANDi paediatric app for advice on common childhood illnesses
  • Use NHS 111 – online or by phone if you need advice or medical treatment quickly and can’t wait to see your GP. If you need to be seen by a Minor Injuries or Emergency Department they can book you in.
  • Get vaccinated against Covid
  • Covid-19 is still very much here so continue to maintain good hygiene, especially hand hygiene, to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
  • Collect friends or family members from hospital as soon as possible when they are ready to leave. It means their bed can be given to the next person who needs it.

Local people play role in choosing new provider for NHS 111 in Devon.

A new organisation has been appointed to run the integrated urgent care service in Devon.

And local people in Devon played a vital role in the process, helping shape the design of the service and choose the successful bidder.

From later this year, NHS 111, out-of-hours GP services and the Clinical Assessment Services (CAS) will be run by Practice Plus Group Urgent Care (formerly known as Care UK Health Care).

The group currently answers 1.5million calls a year to NHS 111, and runs out of hours services, urgent treatment centres, minor injuries units, hospitals and general practices nationwide. Its NHS 111 service in Bristol was the first to be rated “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission.

In Devon, it will also run the clinical assessment service, in which clinicians use their expertise to respond to callers, prioritising cases and directing people to the most appropriate services.

The appointment follows a rigorous, competitive procurement process involving a thorough and robust evaluation of bids, with involvement from a range of evaluators who brought their different areas of expertise to the process. The contract is for five years from 1 October 2022, with room for a three-year extension.

Out-of-hours and NHS 111 services have been under pressure for the last few years, both in Devon and nationwide, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CCG built in a number of conditions for bidders to enter the tender process, including experience of delivering similar services and experience of service transformation.

The specification for the contract was partly built on what patients using the service told the CCG they needed and what they wanted to change. Questions to bidders were based on a range of factors including the insight provided by those using the NHS 111 and GP out-of-hours services. Patient representatives were involved in the final evaluation of the bids.

The current provider of the service is Devon Doctors Ltd.

Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of Devon CCG, said: “We are confident that people in Devon will see real improvements in the 111 and GP out-of-hours services. It is critically important that patients can access these services easily and then receive timely, high quality care according to their needs.

“The CCG would like to thank Devon Doctors for its dedication and hard work over the past years in providing the service.”

Kevin Brown, Director of Integrated Urgent Care at Practice Plus Group, said: “We are delighted to have been given this responsibility to support patients and NHS services across Devon. We will place collaboration, partnership working and innovation at the centre of the service to ensure that urgent and out-of-hours NHS care is comprehensive, resilient and easy to access locally.

“Between now and October we will be working closely with the existing team and the current provider, with whom we already have a strong relationship, and with NHS commissioners, GPs and other local NHS services to understand how we can best meet the current and future needs of patients in all parts of the community.”

Local people will still be able to contact 111 and use the out-of-hours doctor service by phone on 111 or online at as normal during the transition process.

Devon’s NHS launch online health and wellbeing app library.

The NHS in Devon has announced the launch of a new health and wellbeing app library for local people, powered by the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps (ORCHA).

Effectively a comparison website, the localised site for Devon allows patients and healthcare professionals to search and download from a wide range of apps, making it quicker and easier for people across Devon to access safe and accredited health and wellbeing applications on their computer or smart phone.

Founded by NHS clinicians, ORCHA is used widely for health application evaluation and distribution.

Healthcare professionals and patients across the country are actively engaging with the ORCHA apps library to support mental wellbeing, healthy living, and long-term condition management.

Patients are being reassured that the apps library has not been created to replace any health services, but rather to complement them.  Examples of apps within the library and how they can be used include:

  • An app for monitoring sleep patterns – a patient may be due to see their GP to discuss a sleeping issue and could utilise an app to monitor their sleeping patterns. The app may even record those patterns, which can then be shared with the GP during their consultation to help with diagnosis.
  • Quit smoking apps – there are plenty of helpful no smoking apps which patients can take advantage of to find the right support for yourself and others.
  • Mental health apps for young people chosen by young people to support through tough times.

Part of the NHS Innovation Accelerator Programme, ORCHA provides services to the NHS across many regions of the UK, providing app libraries and professional recommendation tools across a broad range of settings. The NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) supports organisations to scale promising innovations across England’s NHS for greater patient and staff benefit.

ORCHA also runs national health app accreditation schemes to national bodies worldwide.

ORCHA’s unique review engine tests apps against 350 criteria across clinical and professional assurance, data and privacy, usability, and accessibility.  It reviews around 500 apps every month, including automatic re-reviews of apps when they are updated.

Vulnerable 5–11-year-olds urged to have the Covid-19 vaccine.Eligible children will be invited by the local NHS

Paediatricians in Devon have offered reassurance about the Covid-19 vaccination to children who have become eligible for the vaccine and to their parents.

Dr Corinne Hayes and Dr Emily Chesshyre, who are both paediatricians based at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, have said the paediatric dose of the vaccination is known to be safe and has been widely used in this age group in other countries.

Children aged 5 to 11 years, who are clinically at risk from Covid-19 or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed are now eligible for a lower, paediatric, dose of the vaccine.

Eligible children include those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and other conditions such as chronic heart or kidney conditions.

Dr Corinne Hayes said: “Having the vaccine will help protect the most vulnerable children and their families from Covid-19. If you have any concerns please talk to your GP or consultant, we’re always happy to help.”

Dr Emily Chesshyre said: “I want to reassure children and their parents that this lower dose has been approved following a robust safety review and that many children elsewhere in the world have already been safely vaccinated. Over 8.7 million children in this age group have had the Covid-19 vaccine in the US alone.”

Children who are eligible will be contacted by their GP or the local NHS inviting them to book an appointment. This group are not currently able to book through the national booking system.

NHS Devon’s Chief Nurse, Darryn Allcorn, said: “I urge any parent or guardian of children in this eligible group to take up the offer as soon as they are invited.  Children may experience mild side effects, such as a sore arm or flu-like symptoms, but we know that even the milder Omicron variant can make people seriously ill.”

The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) advises the government on immunisations and has recommended that eligible children should receive two 10-microgram doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is one third of the dose for adults and children aged 12 and over.  The vaccination is given as two injections in the upper arm, with a minimum interval of eight weeks between these doses. Children who turn 12 during that interval will still have a lower second dose.

Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which regulates medicines in the UK, said: “Parents and carers can be reassured that no new vaccine for children would have been approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness have been met.

“We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines and this includes children aged 5 to 11 years old.”

Future of Plymouth’s Mayflower GP service secured.

Local health and care provider, Livewell Southwest, has been named as the new organisation responsible for the running of the Mayflower Medical Group of GP practices in Plymouth from April 2022.


The Group, which covers five sites in Plymouth, is responsible for providing GP services for nearly 40,000 people in the city.


The current arrangements, with provider Access Health Care are due to come to an end on 31 March and Livewell Southwest has stepped in to take on this large service, ensuring that people can continue to receive local GP services.


The transition shouldn’t cause any disruption to either staff or patients.  Patients are being reassured that it’s business as usual at the practice and they should continue to access their practice in the normal way.


Staff at the five sites have been reassured that their employment will transfer to Livewell Southwest and that they have a key role in the future of the service.


Jo Turl, Director of Commissioning at NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said:


“We are pleased to announce that Plymouth organisation, and community interest company, Livewell Southwest will take over the running of Mayflower Medical Group from 1 April 2022.


Livewell Southwest already provide a wide range of health and care services in Plymouth and are well-placed to provide the support needed at Mayflower until a longer-term solution is in place.


“We are working closely with Livewell Southwest and the current provider to ensure a smooth transition in the handover, with minimal disruption to patients and staff.  Patients do not need to take any action and should continue to access the service as usual.”


“We thank Access Health Care – which currently runs the service – for its dedication in running this service.”


Michelle Thomas, Chief Executive at Livewell Southwest, said:


“We are delighted to take on this opportunity as we so highly value the work of GPs and our Primary Care Networks in supporting the health and wellbeing of our local communities.


“Our existing knowledge of these communities and fantastic relationships with our partners in health and care across Plymouth make us an excellent fit for supporting the development of this group of GP practices.


“We really look forward to joining the team at Mayflower and working with the dedicated staff who work there.”


Notes to editors


NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for commissioning (planning, paying for and monitoring) GP practices in Devon and our priority is to make sure that the people registered with Mayflower Medical Group continue to have access to a full range of GP services and care.


Mayflower Medical Group, which is currently run by Access Health Care (part of Devon Doctors), provides GP services at five sites in Plymouth:


  1. Stirling Road Surgery
  2. Ernesettle Medical Centre
  3. Mount Gould Primary Care Centre
  4. Trelawny Surgery
  5. Mannamead Surgery


Access Health Care are contracted to run the Mayflower service until 31 March 2022.


Livewell Southwest will run the Mayflower Medical Group from 1 April 2022.


About Livewell Southwest


Livewell Southwest  is a current provider of integrated NHS health and social care services operating across South Hams, West Devon and Plymouth.  They were founded in 2011 as a pioneering, independent community interest company. This means they are a not-for-profit organisation which re-invests all revenue back into the services they provide, and the communities they serve.


They provide a range of services including community nursing; services for people with learning disabilities; physiotherapy; community mental health services; social work; wellbeing and health improvement services; services for children and young people and community pharmacies.


Livewell Southwest is an employee-led organisation, and the largest community health and social care enterprise in the UK. They employ 2,700 members of staff who live and work in the local area and champion their progression, development and commitment to providing outstanding care.


As a health and care provider, Livewell Southwest are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and were rated ‘Good’ at their last inspection in 2019.


‘It’s ok to be stressed or nervous, but there’s nothing to be worried about’.Reassuring messages from Devon’s Vaccine Ambassadors in new films

New films featuring Devon’s Vaccine Ambassadors, are being launched today to offer encouragement and reassurance to people from communities across the county who are not yet fully vaccinated.


Feedback from community leaders ahead of the vaccine rollout suggested that trusted voices would be important in encouraging uptake of the vaccine among diverse communities.  As a result, NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning group developed a Vaccine Ambassador programme.


Devon has 20 Vaccine Ambassadors, recruited from across health and social care, local authorities and charities since March 2021. The ambassadors represent different communities, including some that have been more hesitant to have the vaccine. Their role is to listen to their communities, promote reliable information about the Covid-19 vaccination and help people to have confidence to have their vaccine. Between them, they have worked with hundreds of people across Devon from diverse communities.


Mohamed Muganzi, Manager of Piety Mosque in Plymouth, is featured in the films encouraging worshippers arriving for Friday prayers to have their vaccine. “It’s very important that they get vaccinated,” he said, “it’s protecting themselves and protecting us. If one person came in infected, we have over 1,000 others who could get infected.”


The World Health Organisation recently warned that, while the Omicron variant does appear to be less severe compared to Delta, it should not be categorised as “mild” and still causes some people to die or become seriously ill and need hospital care.


The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows shortly after getting a booster, you are 85% less likely to end up in hospital than if you are unvaccinated.


However having the Covid-19 vaccination reduces your chances of becoming seriously ill and clinics in Devon remain open to anyone who is eligible and has not yet had their first, second or booster dose.


In the new films, the Vaccine Ambassadors offer reassurance to people who are anxious about having the vaccine.  Aleksandra Burckett, known as Ola, works for Healthwatch and says: “It’s ok to be stressed and it’s ok to be nervous because this is all new to us, but there is nothing to be worried about.”


Justine Smyth works with the deaf community in Devon and advises people who are deaf to write down their personal details and that they are deaf before going for their vaccination, “I know that the staff will be wearing masks so lip reading and communication might put you off, so write it all down on a bit of paper.”


Katherine Last, who works for Living Options Devon and is a Community Vaccination Champion for the autistic community, reassures people who haven’t yet had their first dose: “It doesn’t matter if you’ve not had any of your vaccines yet.  Don’t worry about being judged. They are simply there to help.”


NHS Devon’s Chief Nurse Darryn Allcorn said: “The Vaccine Ambassadors have played a crucial role in supporting people from different communities to have their vaccinations. We would urge anyone who hasn’t yet had them to come forward.  Please don’t underestimate the Omicron variant. It can still make you very poorly, especially if you are unvaccinated.”


In December, more than four million people in England tested positive for Covid and would have been unable to get their vaccine for at least 28 days, in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance, but will now be.


Details of walk-in clinics are regularly shared on NHS Devon CCG’s social media pages. You can find your nearest walk-in clinic on NHS England’s site finder here. Appointments can also be booked via the National Booking System


The films can be viewed and shared from YouTube or downloaded to share on other social media platforms.

Pregnant women urged to have their vaccine as cases rise.

Cases of COVID-19 are at their highest in Devon this month since the pandemic began, leading health experts to renew their calls urging pregnant women to have their vaccine.

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care admission, however research by the UK Obstetric Surveillance System found that no fully vaccinated pregnant women were admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 in England between February and the end of September last year. During the same time period at least 55,000 pregnant women had received one or more doses in the UK.

NHS Devon’s deputy chief nurse Susan Masters said: “The Omicron variant may be milder than previous variants, but it still poses a serious risk to pregnant women and their unborn babies. Having the COVID-19 vaccine when pregnant will protect you and your baby from the virus.

“Your GP or midwife will be happy to answer any questions or concerns.  You can also ask questions at your vaccine appointment and make yourself known to a marshal if you are finding it difficult to stand for a long while.”

Meanwhile a Plymouth teacher who was hospitalised whilst pregnant with flu, shortly after catching COVID-19, is also appealing to pregnant women to have both the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations. Christine believes that having the jabs helped to prevent her from becoming more seriously ill.

“It was really horrible,” she said. “I became severely dehydrated. My baby wasn’t getting the reserves it needed and the midwives became very concerned. It was all a bit scary, especially when there were no foetal movements for 24 hours and my temperature wasn’t coming down.

“Thankfully I’ve recovered and my baby is okay, but I certainly never want to experience that again.

“My advice to anyone would be to get every vaccine you can. Especially if you’re pregnant, it makes sense to take anything and everything you are offered to protect both you and your baby. They wouldn’t be offered if they weren’t safe for both of you.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recently announced that pregnant women should be considered a clinical risk group and is calling on all pregnant women to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of JCVI COVID-19 Immunisation, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines used in pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities or birth complications.

“Women who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to have a first, second or booster vaccine dose as appropriate in order to better protect yourself and your baby from any serious consequences from COVID-19.”

The risk of serious complications from COVID-19 is low but a study of more than 340,000 births in England by the National Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Audit found:

  • Women who tested positive for COVID-19 around the time of birth were twice as likely to have a stillbirth (8.5 in every 1000 births, compared with 3.4 in every 1000 births)
  • The rate of premature birth was twice as high when the mother had COVID-19 at the time of birth (12% compared with 5.8%)
  • Women who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to have an emergency caesarean birth compared with those who didn’t have COVID-19 at birth (27.6% compared to 18.5%)

Where can I find out more?


GP surgery Christmas and New Year opening times.

Patients across Devon are being reminded that most GP practices will be closed over the festive and New Year period and that if they need medical advice to make use of alternative services such as 111.

Most GP practices will close at the end of the day on Friday 24 December and will re-open again on Wednesday 29 December until Friday 31 December. They will then be closed again from Saturday 1 January until Monday 3 January due the New Year bank holiday.

The NHS in Devon is asking people to do what they can to prevent themselves becoming unwell and to choose the right NHS service for their needs if they need help over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Dr Alex Degan, NHS Devon’s Primary Care Medical Director, said: “Most GP practices will be closed over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, but there is support available from other NHS services.

“Whether you need over the counter medicines, a prescription or whether you just need to seek advice on mental or physical health conditions, there are a number of alternative NHS services available”.

If it’s not an emergency or life-threatening condition, help the NHS to help you by choosing the right service for your needs:

  • Call 111 or click on NHS 111 if you’re feeling unwell, not sure where to go or if you need health advice and guidance in non-life-threatening emergencies – available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Consider self-care, which is the best choice to treat minor illnesses and injuries like a coughs, colds, grazes, small cuts or a sore throat.
  • Look after yourself at home and keep a well-stocked cabinet of over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol or indigestion relief available from your local pharmacy.
  • Remember pharmacists advise and treat illnesses like diarrhoea, earache, painful cough, sticky eye, teething and rashes – and by visiting your pharmacy you can avoid an unnecessary trip to your GP or A&E and save time. Find your nearest pharmacy opening times here:
  • Minor Injury Units (MIU), walk-in centres (WIC) and urgent treatment centres (UTC) provide non-urgent services for things like cuts, sprains, strain, bruises, itchy rashes, stings and minor burns. For MIU locations and opening times, visit the NHS website or use 111.
  • Download the NHS App – a simple and secure way for people to access a range of NHS services on their smartphone or table. Available to download from Google Play or AppStore. Its services include:
    • Checking symptoms
    • Booking GP appointments
    • Ordering repeat prescriptions
  • The HANDi paediatric apphas been developed by paediatric consultants for parents and provides access to home care plans, as well as GP and hospital clinical guidelines, for the most common childhood health care conditions.
  • Mental health crisis cafés, also known as The Moorings @ Devon, offer out-of-hours mental health support to anyone aged 16+ in Devon, from locations in Barnstaple, Exeter, and Torquay. Click for contact details and opening hours.
  • Get boosted, To book your COVID booster visit the National Booking Service – NHS Digital
  • To find a walk-in COVID vaccination site click here Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site – NHS (
  • If you have COVID symptoms you can book a free PCR test here Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (

There is also a wealth of self-help health information on the NHS website – – including reliable guidance on managing common winter illnesses.

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