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Reminder to order repeat prescriptions before holidays


In the first ten months of this year, GP Out of Hours services across Northern Ireland received 20000 calls from people who had run out of medicine or forgotten to order their repeat prescriptions. Requests for repeat prescriptions are among the top 5 reasons why people ring the GP Out of Hours service.

In the run up to the Christmas and New Year holidays, the Health and Social Care Board is reminding people to plan ahead and if they need repeat prescriptions, to get these before their own GPs close for the holidays.

Dr Margaret O’Brien, Head of General Medical Services, Health and Social Care Board said, “The Out of Hours service is for people who require urgent medical care which can’t wait until their daytime GP reopens. So we are encouraging people to plan ahead and order their medicine before their GP closes for the Christmas and New Year holidays.  With a little planning, you will have peace of mind during the holidays, without worrying about running out of medicine or waiting for an Out of Hours nurse of doctor to call you back. This will also help us ensure that those who genuinely require urgent care can get through and be seen quicker, making the best use of finite resources.”

The Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency, the five Health and Social Care Trusts, local GPs, pharmacists and dentists have been working to ensure that people have access to urgent care services over the holiday period.

As part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, we are encouraging everyone to look after themselves and take actions that will help them stay well this winter.

The list below links to a list of useful numbers and opening hours of health services during the holidays.

Online symptom checker

You can find information about a range of common illnesses such as aches and pains, coughs, colds, upset stomachs and sore throats using the new symptom checker on nidirect.  Most of these conditions can be treated with over the counter medicines and plenty of rest and whether treated or not, most of these will get better.

Pharmacy opening hours over Christmas and New Year

Pharmacies operate a rota arrangement over Christmas and New Year. You can search by the town closest to you here.


Same day appointments will be available when GPs reopen from Wednesday 27th Dec 2018 and 2nd Jan 2019. Contact your GP on the usual numbers.

GP out of hours

This service is for urgent medical care when your GP surgery is closed. Find your local service here

Minor Injuries Units

This service is for can treat injuries that are not critical or life threatening such as:

You can find your local services here.

Emergency Departments

Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma.

Out of hours Dental Services

For out of hours urgent dental problems, you should contact your dental surgery or there is a walk-in Relief of Dental Pain Clinic in the Outpatients Department of the Belfast City Hospital.

Out of hours Emergency Social Work Service

This service is for genuine emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day.

Regional Emergency Social Work Service 028 9504 9999.

You should always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. If you or someone you know is in distress or despair call Lifeline on 0800 808 8000.

The Health and Social Care Service would like to wish you a safe and healthy Christmas and New Year.