More than 50,000 people called the GP Out of Hours service last year as they had run out of their regular medication, new statistics released during the launch of the ‘Choose Well campaign’ reveal.
This number could be reduced by 50 per cent if people think ahead, order what they need and collect their repeat medication before it runs out, particularly over weekends and Public Holidays.
Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) Valerie Watts said: “Last year, nearly 123,000 people visited a community pharmacy each day; and throughout the year - around 12 million people sought help from their GP Practice, around 84,000 people attended their local Minor Injuries Unit and around 654,000 people attended Emergency Departments.
“The majority of people use services appropriately, however, there are a number of people, for a variety of reasons who don’t. It is essential that at a time of increasing pressure on urgent care services and decreasing budgets, we prioritise our use of resources to deal with urgent and emergency cases and we need the public’s assistance with this.”
Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency Dr Eddie Rooney said: “The ‘Choose Well campaign’ is about informing and empowering people to make the right choice at the right time, whether that is treating a cold, or recognising the need to seek more urgent treatment from, for example, a GP or an Emergency Department.
“Looking after yourself, preventing illnesses from getting more serious, and getting the specialist care and treatment when needed are all a key part of a major HSC wide drive to ease pressures on Emergency Departments and other urgent care services this winter and beyond.”