Advice on using health services

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People are being urged to choose the right health service over Christmas and New Year to help ease pressures.

Southern Trust medical director Dr John Simpson said the trust experiences extra demand during the winter months due to the increase in respiratory conditions and greater risk of falls and fractures in icy weather.

“Although we do have measures in place to cope with the increased number of patients we still need the public’s help,” he said.

The Emergency Departments at Craigavon and Daisy Hill hospital are for people who are seriously ill or injured and need to be immediately treated. Those with less urgent or serious conditions will have to wait whilst those most in need will be prioritised.

South Tyrone Hospital Minor Injury Unit is open 9am-9pm from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday and can treat patients with minor conditions such as cuts, sprains or minor burns.

The unit will be closed on Christmas Day, open Boxing Day from 10am to 6pm and New Year’s Day from 9am to 9pm.

The GP Out of Hours Service should be used for serious urgent problems that cannot wait until your own GP surgery reopens. Always phone first on 028 3839 9201 as many patients can be given telephone advice.

Christmas and New Year opening times for the GP Out of Hours are: Christmas Eve, from 6pm until Monday, December 29 at 8am and from Wednesday, December 31 from 6pm until Friday, January 2 at 8am.

Dr Simpson also urged people to stock up on repeat prescriptions and paracetamol, and not to visit hospital if they have cold, flu, vomiting or diarrhoea.

He added, “Anybody who gets the ‘flu or similar viral infections should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and take over the counter remedies to ease symptoms.

“If your condition is getting worse despite this then it may be necessary to consult your GP.”