Stay well this Easter - medical advice

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

The following health and care arrangements will be in place should you or a member of your family become ill or have an accident.

As part of the Stay Well campaign, medical experts are encouraging everyone to look after themselves and take actions that will help them stay well this Easter. This includes ordering any repeat prescriptions well in advance of the holiday weekend.

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 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.

Hospital Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients. The public are asked to ensure Emergency Departments are used appropriately, and only for urgent conditions 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.

Information on how to use your health services can be found at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/stay-well

PHARMACY

Your local pharmacist can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. The Health and Social Care Board has been working closely with local pharmacists to draw up holiday pharmacy rota arrangements.

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.

The pharmacy rota arrangements are:

LIMAVADY: 5.00 pm – 6.30 pm, Campbells, 38 Main Street, BT49 0EU.

STRABANE: 5.00 pm - 6.00 pm, Colhouns Chemist, 11 Castle Street, BT82 8AF.

Western Urgent Care, the GP Out of Hours service provider in the Western area, provides urgent medical advice, care and treatment at times when GP surgeries are closed at Altnagelvin, Limavady, Strabane, Omagh and Enniskillen.

Western Urgent Care will be operating for all GP Practices from 6pm on Friday, April 14 until practices open at 8.30 am on Wednesday, April 19.

Attendance at GP Out of Hours centres is by appointment only. 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.

If you need to contact GP Out of Hours service in the Western area, you should do so by telephoning Western Urgent Care on 028 7186 5195. A receptionist will take your call. The receptionist will take details of your call which are passed either to a doctor or a nurse for assessment of your problem. The doctor or nurse will then call you back with advice or advise on whether you need to visit the GP Out of Hours centre or if a home visit is required.

DENTAL

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.

SOCIAL WORK

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.

URGENT CARE

The Urgent Care & 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

EMERGENCY

Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma. Normal Emergency Department services will be operating throughout the holiday period as usual. The service is for those in need of emergency treatment.

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.

LIFELINE

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.

The Health and Social Care Service would like to wish you a safe and healthy Easter.