Royal Cornwall asks people to avoid A & E unless urgent

There has been a huge demand for care over Christmas in Cornwall and that demand is not expected to drop over the New Year period.

The Royal Cornwall NHS Trust says:

With the arrival of 56 babies, 2,000 emergency department and minor injury unit attendances, over 3,600 calls to the 111 and out of hours GP service, and over 420 calls to the mental health line since Christmas Eve, it’s been one of the busiest year’s ever for NHS staff across Cornwall.

Ambulances, Royal Cornwall NHS Trust

Kieran Bignell, System Director of Emergency Care at NHS Kernow added “a massive thank you goes out to everyone who has been providing care through the Christmas break.”

The Trust adds:

Over the last four days there has been an unprecedented number of calls to the integrated care service which provides 111 and out of hours GP services. On Boxing Day alone, the team dealt with more than 883 callers, provided 92 clinic appointments, and made 69 home visits.

Whilst only 216 people turned up at the emergency department and minor injury units on Christmas Day, that number rose by 141% to 512 on bank holiday Monday, 27 December. More than half of the 2,000 attendances have been in the last two days (27 and 28 December).

Kieran Bignell added: “Unless your need is serious or life-threatening please help us by not coming to our emergency department or calling out of hours services with a long-standing condition, or something that could otherwise wait. Our clinical teams need to be able to concentrate on those people who are in genuinely urgent need. 111 online can guide you to the right place, and if you’re calling 111 by phone, do give us more time to answer during busy periods.”

Over the coming weeks Cornwall could also see the impact of the Omicron covid variant on the demand for hospital and other services and everyone is urged to make sure they are fully vaccinated, including booster doses. It can take around 7 to 10 days for the vaccine to start working, and the side effects are mild compared to the symptoms of COVID-19.

Vaccination clinics are open throughout this week and next, including plenty of walk-in sessions, so start 2022 by giving yourself, your loved one and our NHS protection from COVID-19. Details of times and locations can be found online at You can also book an appointment by calling 119 or online via the national booking service –

Information on all the services available, including mental health support, and how to access them can be found on the NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Pharmacies can also provide expert advice on a wide range of minor ailments and the Handi App, which you can download to your smartphone, is a great source of information for treating common childhood illnesses.

Meanwhile, for anyone needing a vaccine, the North Devon COVID-19 Vaccination Centre is based at the North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple and these are opening times.

Thursday 30 December – 8.20am-4.30pm (Pfizer)

CLOSED – 31 December-1 January

Sunday 2 January – 10am-3pm (Pfizer)
Tuesday 4 January – 8.20am-8pm (Pfizer)
Wednesday 5 January – 8.20am-8pm (Pfizer)
Thursday 6 January – 8.20am-8pm (Pfizer)

Friday 7 January – 8.20am-12 noon (AstraZeneca)

12-15 year olds

Monday 3 January – 10am-3.30pm



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