Sidmouth Hospital is open but call-ahead say NHS

SIDMOUTH Victoria Hospital has remained open during the cold spell but NHS bosses are asking patients to phone ahead.

SIDMOUTH Victoria Hospital has remained open during the cold spell but NHS bosses are asking patients to phone ahead.

All of NHS Devon's 21 community hospitals are open but some outpatients' appointments have been affected and patients are being contacted direct to inform them of this.

A spokesperson for NHS Devon said: "Most nurses, porters and other staff made it into work - despite low temperatures and driving snow.

"District nursing visits continue although these are being prioritised for those patients most in need.

"GP surgeries in the county remain open as do most pharmacies although some pharmacies do plan to close early today to ensure staff can return home safely."

NHS bosses say that the situation is changing all the time so it is best to phone ahead and to only leave home if it is absolutely essential.

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The spokesperson added: "Cold weather is serious and claims lives every year. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse and threatens those in or approaching fuel poverty who are unable to afford to heat their homes adequately."

They also advise:

* Ensuring that you or vulnerable people you know have enough food and medicines in stock, and check that they are able to keep themselves warm.

* Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day - if possible, eating regularly helps to keep energy levels up during winter. Keep as active indoors as possible.

* Wear several light layers of warm clothes, and if you're going outside wear boots, hats, gloves and scarves. Remember, the roads and pavements may be slippery. Take a mobile phone with you.

* Keep your living room and bedrooms warm - between 18- 21 degrees centigrade - and avoid going outside if possible.

* Keeping an eye on immediate neighbours or friends, particularly if they live alone.

The out-of-hours GP service is available for urgent medical problems that cannot wait until GP surgeries open. To contact this service simply call your GP or ring direct on 0845 6710 270.

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