Kep warm say health cheifs

HEALTH chiefs have urged Exmouth residents to stay warm, stay well and phone ahead as the big freeze looks set to continue over Christmas.

HEALTH chiefs have urged Exmouth residents to stay warm, stay well and phone ahead as the big freeze looks set to continue over Christmas.

NHS Devon said its community hospitals remained open as snow and ice have took hold of the region.

Nurses and healthcare professionals, cleaners and administrators walked and hitched their way into work to make sure services remained open, says the authority.

Others were helped by volunteer 4X4 drivers or worked longer hours and stayed with friends or relatives so they could get into work and back.

Nurse-led minor injuries units and district and community nursing staff prioritised home visits, while minor injuries units were also up and running around the county.

NHS bosses say the weather situation remains precarious and had advised residents to phone ahead if they are due to attend a GP or other healthcare appointment - and only leave home if it is absolutely essential.

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Ann James, chief executive of NHS Devon, said she was proud of the NHS’ response during the big freeze.

“Many of our services have stayed up and running and we have our staff to thank for this,” she said.

“Always remember though that it’s not a good idea to attempt to leave home unless it is absolutely essential.

“If you are due to attend a community hospital appointment, phone ahead beforehand. Only leave home if it is absolutely essential.”

She warned cold weather claims lives every year. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse and threatens those in or approaching fuel poverty, unable to afford to heat their homes adequately.

The out-of-hours GP service is available for urgent medical problems that cannot wait until GP surgeries open on 0845 6710 270.

Contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for information about any healthcare issue 24-hours a day.

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