Torbay and South Devon Health Service News – Issue 1

Apr 8, 2020 | Community News Post

Issue 1 – 7 April 2020

Latest news from Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust

We are sending you this briefing to keep you informed about Trust developments. We thought you would find it especially helpful during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please feel free to share these updates amongst your networks. If you wish to unsubscribe, please email:

We are ensuring our website has the latest information on it so please do look there for the most up-to-date information www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk/

You also keep up-to-date by following us on Twitter and Facebook

Managing the COVID-19 outbreak

There’s a lot of work going on across the Trust to ensure we are well prepared for any increase in COVID-19 patients. We have already put some of these plans in place and we wanted to share with you what we are doing and reassure you that we have thorough plans in place to ensure we can provide good care for our patients whilst supporting our staff to stay safe.

As part of this we have cancelled all non-urgent planned appointments so that we can focus on our emergency response services. All appointments are being clinically review by the appropriate specialist. Following the clinical review, unless an appointment is essential, it may be replaced with a non-face to face appointment such as a telephone or video consultation or it may be re-arranged for a later date.

This means if anyone has an appointment booked over the coming weeks they should not attend unless advised otherwise by the Trust. If the appointment is deemed to be essential we will contact the patient – people do not need to contact us.

We have moved some of our departments and services at Torbay Hospital around, so that we can safely treat people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 symptoms away from anyone being treated for other conditions. We have expanded capacity in our emergency department and ICU and are working with Mount Stuart Hospital for urgent surgery and are also using Newton Abbot Hospital as a non COVID-19 (‘green’) hospital.  Over the weekend we moved two of our wards to Newton Abbot Hospital as part of this plan.

We are making sure that our hospital and community teams have access to the training and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to provide care safely and appropriately, whether in hospital, in people’s homes or in residential care settings. National guidance is evolving as scientists and clinicians gain a greater understanding of COVID-19, and we are communicating the latest developments to our staff.

Visiting arrangements

To reduce the risk to patients, staff and any visitors and maintain the Government’s direction of social isolation we are not accepting visitors to our hospitals, except in the following circumstances:

  • One parent/guardian visiting their child (under the age of 18)
  • A patient receiving end of life care
  • Specific reasons of safety (dementia or learning disability where anxiety would be increased significantly)
  • Mothers who are expecting in the Birthing Unit, one birth partner will be permitted only when in labour

Even under these circumstances, visitors should not come to the hospital if they have a new, persistent cough or high temperature of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher. Additionally, if visitors live with someone who has symptoms, they should stay at home for 14 days starting from the day the first person in the household developed symptoms and should not visit.

Offers of support

We are extremely grateful to local businesses and communities for all their offers of support we have now set up a JustGiving page as we have been asked how people can donate. There are some details below that we are now sharing.

Official JustGiving page – Now live!

Our incredible staff – who are based across Torbay and South Devon – are working around the clock, caring for patients during the current Covid-19 pandemic. We have had some fantastic support during this time and people have asked us how they can donate.

We have set up a JustGiving page where, if you would like, you can make donations (no matter how big or small) to support us and our vital work during these unprecedented times!

You can help us to help them. Join #TeamTSD and support your local NHS.

Your donation will be gratefully received and will play an important role in getting us through these unprecedented times.

If you would like to support us, then any donation, large or small, will be truly appreciated and will help towards supporting the great work that our staff are doing for all of us.

We cannot thank you enough for any donation made, it will make a lasting difference at this time.

Donate now via this link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/TSDCOVID

What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (a temperature above 37.8 degrees or a new, continuous cough) should use the NHS 111 online service to complete a coronavirus assessment, not call 111. GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service

A new GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service has also been launched.

The purpose of this product is to combat the spread of misinformation propagated through WhatsApp on an Official Government channel. To use the service, simply add +44 7860 064422 to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”.

GP and pharmacy services over Easter bank holiday weekend 

  • GP practices will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday like a normal weekday
  • Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you need help on Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday or outside practice opening times
  • Many community pharmacies will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Special arrangements are in place to make sure people in Devon can access GP and pharmacy services over the Easter weekend. To respond to the current high demand from patients, GP practices across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth will be opening on Good Friday and Easter Monday as if they were normal working weekdays – from 8am to 6pm. Since the start of the outbreak, practices across the county have been asking patients to contact them via phone or online contact form on their website (as opposed to walking in) in the first instance if they need help – and this is how to contact them on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Outside of these hours and on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday, out-of-hours GP services will continue to be provided in the normal way by Devon Doctors by contacting 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.

Many community pharmacies will also be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Find your nearest pharmacy and its opening times here: www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy. For full pharmacy rotas over Easter, see: www.england.nhs.uk/south/info-professional/pharm-info/pharmacy-opening-hours/

Sharing Good news

Our staff have been absolutely amazing in the way they have continued to provide excellent care during this pandemic. It has been heart warming to receive so many messages of thanks and this means so much to our staff.

We could give endless examples of their amazing sacrifice and want to share as many as possible