Relatives and carers are being urged to collect their loved ones from hospital as soon as they’re called so the bed can be given to someone else who needs it.

The plea has been made as health and care services across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly say they continue to see "unprecedented demand".

They said reasons for the pressures include the ongoing impact of Covid-19, pressure on staffing, and the needs for social care exceeding the available capacity to provide care for people away from hospital.

Yesterday (Tuesday, October 12) 284 people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were waiting for their care package to be arranged.

NHS Kernow said staff from all organisations are "working hard to see and treat people," including those who are ready to leave hospital.

Help is available to support people, including a one-off discharge support grant of up to £1,200 for anyone who is ready to leave hospital but needs a bit of extra care and support to return home. The money can be spent on paying for someone to help with their washing, cleaning, and shopping, or buying equipment to help people retain their independence and avoid being readmitted to hospital.

Dr Allister Grant, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust’s medical director speaking on behalf of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s health and care system, said: “Please pick up friends or relatives as soon as we ask you to collect them.

"We know people are busy with work, childcare, or other commitments, and it may not be convenient to collect their loved one from hospital when we call, but the quicker we can get someone home, the quicker we can give the bed to another person who really needs it.

“Please also continue to use the appropriate service, and to only call 999 or visit the emergency department if you have a genuine life-threatening emergency such as a heart attack, suspected stroke, heavy bleeding, are unconscious, or having breathing difficulties."

He said people should call their GP if they need urgent health advice, or NHS 111 when the surgery is closed and it cannot wait until it reopens.

NHS 111 can also help if someone thinks they need to visit a minor injury unit to treat broken bones, burns and bites.

"Thank you for helping us to help you," he added.

There are other ways people can support services, NHS Kernow has said. These include:

• Using your pharmacist for minor conditions such as coughs, colds, water infections, ear ache and rashes.

• Getting vaccinated against Covid-19, with both jabs and your booster if you are eligible.

• Staying away from hospitals if you have Covid-19 symptoms, or diarrhoea and vomiting

Visit for details of all services.