Measures put in place to ease the pressure on services.

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The healthcare trust that manages community hospitals across East Devon has put measures in place to ensure services stand the tests of winter.

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust says it experiences a higher demand for its services and an increase in hospital admissions during the winter.

It has launched a series of projects in a bid to ease the pressure including extra beds at times of peak demand, increased ward rounds, extra rapid response and community staff to support people in their own homes, avoid admissions and support discharges from hospital.

The trusts, director of operations, Kate Lyons, said: “The colder weather at this time of year always brings an increase in health problems, including respiratory illness, flu, norovirus and injuries caused by falls or slips.

“We have robust plans in place to cope with the extra pressure this puts on our acute, community and specialist services, and to deal with severe weather if it comes.

“Our priorities are to ensure critical services operate as normal in our hospitals and to identify and care for our most vulnerable patients, with the aim of avoiding unnecessary admission to hospital where possible.

“Our community nursing teams have been visiting vulnerable patients at home to ensure they are prepared.”

It also staged an emergency planning exercise in November to test its resilience and how it would prioritise services in the event of severe weather.

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