The health and social care system is encouraging everyone to look after themselves, both physically and mentally, and take actions that will help them stay well during winter.
As we head into the holiday period, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) together with the Southern Trust, GPs, pharmacists, dentists and optometrists, want to assure you that arrangements are in place should you or a member of your family become ill or have an accident over the Christmas and the New Year holiday period.
If you feel unwell, it is important, to choose the service most appropriate to your symptoms, so you can get better quicker.
Self-care is the best choice to treat most minor illnesses, ailments and injuries.
A range of common illnesses such as aches and pains, colds, upset stomachs and sore throats can be treated with over the counter medicines and plenty of rest.
In the face of rising Coronavirus cases we also need to keep making safer choices in our daily lives. That includes vaccination, wearing face coverings, meeting up outdoors or in well ventilated settings, limiting our contacts and washing hands frequently.
Community pharmacies across Northern Ireland will provide a Pharmacy First service again this winter, encouraging patients to contact their local chemist for help with everyday health conditions, including common winter ailments.
The Pharmacy First service enables patients to have a consultation virtually or in a private area with their local community pharmacist.
Many common winter conditions can potentially be self-managed. These often require little or no medical intervention. Many people who consult GPs for common conditions could instead be assisted by a community pharmacist.
The HSCB has been working closely with local pharmacists to draw up holiday pharmacy rota arrangements.
GP practices will offer additional same day urgent clinical triage consultations, remaining open at lunch time with no half day closures for the working week over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
GP practices will be closed on: Monday 27th December 2021, Tuesday 28th December 2021, Monday 3rd January 2022
Urgent Care GP Out-of-hours
Urgent Care (GP) Out of Hours is for urgent medical care when your GP surgery is closed.
Southern Trust 028 3839 9201
Urgent or Emergency Dental Care
For out of hours urgent dental problems, patients should ring their own dental practice in the first instance. If they are not registered with a dentist, they should contact a local dental practice. Dentists will have arrangements in place to offer advice, prescription for pain relief, or referral to an Urgent Dental Care Centre if necessary.
Urgent Dental Care Centres will operate morning clinics from 25th December 2021 to 28th December 2021 and from 1st January 2022 to 3rd January 2022 on a referral basis only.
Urgent eye care
If you have an URGENT eye problem during the holiday period please contact your local Optometrist in the first instance. If your Optometry practice is closed and your eye problem is very urgent and cannot wait until normal opening hours, please contact your nearest hospital Emergency Department.
Eye conditions requiring emergency attention could include pain or loss of vision following recent eye surgery, sudden loss of vision of less than six hours duration, acute trauma or chemical injury, or sudden-onset double vision.
Out-of-hours Regional 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 service on 028 9504 9999.
Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma.
The Phone First service is now in operation for Emergency Departments and Minor Injury Services as at Daisy Hill, Craigavon Area and South Tyrone hospitals.
People who are unwell, have an illness or injury which requires urgent treatment but is not life threatening and are considering travelling to the Emergency Departments or and Minor Injuries Service should ‘Phone First’.
Phone First 0300 123 3 111
Interpreter Now app: https://interpreternow.co.uk/hscni. Phone First text relay number 18001 0300 123 3 111
The service operates from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
For all emergencies that are life threatening, always call 999 immediately. This can include: Stroke, heart attack, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or major trauma.
South Tyrone Minor Injury Unit
Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays 10am to 6pm
If you have a minor injury and live close to South Tyrone Minor Injury Unit please phone for an appointment before you attend Tel: 028 3756 7481.
Mental health emergency
For mental health emergencies, call Lifeline free, in confidence, 24/7 on 0808 808 8000.
For COVID-19 related mental health and wellbeing, see https://covidwellbeingni.info/