The Health and Social Care (HSC) system together with GPs, pharmacists and dentists are working to ensure that the Northern Ireland public can access important health and care services this summer.
A summer Stay Well campaign has been launched, encouraging public to choose services appropriately to help ease current challenges.
As part of the campaign, we are urging everyone to look after themselves and others. This includes ordering any repeat prescriptions well in advance of any holidays. This simple step can help reduce pressures on GP and GP out of hours services.
If you feel unwell, there are a range of healthcare services available to help you. These range from self-care / pharmacy for minor ailments; GP services; Minor Injury Units and Emergency Services.
Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. A range of common illnesses such as sun burn, hay-fever, aches and pains, coughs, colds, upset stomachs and sore throats can be treated with over the counter medicines and plenty of rest. Remember, whether treated or not, most of these will get better.
There are a number of services to help you stay well this summer if used appropriately;
Hospital Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients.
We would ask the public to assist us in ensuring Emergency Departments are used appropriately, and only for urgent conditions that are life threatening such as a suspected heart attack or stroke, serious head injury or serious accident. This helps ensure that the sickest patients can get the care that they need.
999 Ambulance Services
As always, the emergency ambulance service will be there if you need it. Always dial 999 when there is a risk to life or of serious injury. But, if your call is not an emergency, then please use the most appropriate service and help keep the 999 system clear for life threatening emergencies. Remember, you could risk a life if you tie up an emergency line for a non-emergency call. Your call could delay someone with a real emergency. Keep emergency lines free.
Your local pharmacist can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints.
Rota arrangements can be found https://hscbusiness.hscni.net/services/2286.htm
Repeat Prescription Medications – Please remember to order and collect any essential repeat prescription medications from your daytime GP surgery in advance of the holiday period.
GP Out of Hours services provide urgent medical advice, care and treatment at times when GP surgeries are closed.
Attendance at GP Out of Hours centres is by appointment only. We would like to remind patients that the Out of Hours service is a phone first service and all patients should contact the service by phone and should not attend an Out of Hours base without phoning.
Details of dental services will be displayed at dental surgeries or can be obtained by contacting your dentist.
For out of hours urgent dental problems, you should contact your dental surgery.
For more information visit – https://hscboard.hscni.net/coronavirus/#Dental
Out of Hours Emergency Social Work Service
The out of hours Emergency Social Work Service is available outside normal office hours and on weekends, Bank Holidays and Public Holidays for genuine emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day.
You can contact the Regional Emergency Social Work Service on 028 9504 9999.
The Urgent Care and Treatment Centre can treat injuries that are not critical or life threatening, such as injuries to upper and lower limbs, broken bones, sprains, bruises and wounds, burns and scalds, bites, cuts and wounds and eye injuries.
Further details about the service including locations and opening hours can be found on the nidirect website at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/minor-injuries-units
If you, or someone you know, is in distress or despair, no matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, Lifeline is here to help you.
Lifeline counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen and give you the help and support you need, in confidence.
Tel: 0808 808 8000
Please make sure you choose well and get the right treatment for you and your family and help manage your health services resources.
Information on how to use your health services can be found at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/health-and-wellbeing