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HSC experiencing significant pressures on Emergency Departments

Urgent and Emergency Care - phone first information.

Emergency Departments across Northern Ireland are under extreme pressure this evening with increasing numbers of patients attending and needing to be admitted to hospital.

A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care system in Northern Ireland said:

“Whilst our staff are working hard to ensure that patients receive the treatment and care that they need, significant pressures on services have led to some patients waiting longer than is acceptable. We would therefore ask the public to assist us in using services appropriately. The public are also reminded of the need to prevent crowding in our Emergency Departments given the continued risk of Covid-19 transmission.

“Our clear message is if you have a life threatening condition or seriously ill or injured, then the Emergency Department is the place to go. Please do not attend unless you require emergency care. If you are not assessed as an emergency case you may have to wait for a lengthy period.

“For urgent care treatment that is not life threatening the ‘Phone First’ service, being trialled across the Western, Southern and Northern HSC Trusts’ areas helps redirect patients from busy Emergency Departments to other more appropriate services.”

Patients are asked to ‘Phone First’ before attending Emergency Departments (EDs) at Causeway, Antrim Area, Daisy Hill, Craigavon Area, Altnagelvin and the South West Acute Hospitals.

Patients are also asked to ‘Phone First’ before attending the Minor Injuries Units in South Tyrone, Mid Ulster Hospitals and the Urgent Care and Treatment Unit in Omagh.

How to contact the Phone First service:

Southern Area

Craigavon Area Hospital / Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry / South Tyrone Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Dungannon

Service operates 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

Phone First 0300 123 3 111

Interpreter Now app: https://interpreternow.co.uk/hscni

Phone First text relay number 18001 0300 123 3 111

Northern Area

Antrim Area Hospital / Mid Ulster Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Magherafelt / Causeway Hospital

Service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone First 0300 123 1 123 Interpreter Now app: https://interpreternow.co.uk/hscni

Phone First text relay number 18001 0300 123 1 123

Western Area

Altnagelvin and South West Acute Hospitals and Urgent Care and Treatment Unit in Omagh Hospital

Service operates from 08:00am to 12 Midnight 7 days per week.

Phone First 0300 020 6000

Patients not requiring urgent emergency care may choose from alternative services. These include using the online A-Z symptom search, seeking advice from your local pharmacist, contacting your GP, or the GP Out of Hours services (if your medical condition cannot wait until your GP surgery reopens).