With Easter period approaching, the public are being reminded of the different healthcare services available in Northern Ireland - and how to access them.
Over the holidays, if you or some of your family members feel unwell, it is important, to choose the service most appropriate to your symptoms, so you can get better quicker.
In the event of a life threatening emergency always dial 999.
The Emergency Department should only be used for sudden and acute illness or severe trauma.
There are a range of other healthcare services available to help you such as the Phone First service, Minor Injuries Units, GPs, an Urgent Care Centre, Pharmacy First from Community Pharmacies, and NIPEARS participating optometry practices for eye problems..
If you have a mild or minor illness, you can find information about a range of common illnesses using the online symptom search available on NI Direct.
Remember, most of these can be treated with over the counter medicines and plenty of rest and whether treated or not, most of these will get better.
Always remember to order your repeat prescriptions prior to your GP practice closing for the holidays.
Minor injuries Units
A minor injuries unit 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.
GP Out of Hours
GP practices will be closed from 6pm on Friday 15 April 2022 until 8.30am on Wednesday 20 April 2022.
If you require urgent medical care when your GP surgery is closed and cannot wait until they reopen, you should contact GP Out of Hours.
In preparation for the forthcoming Easter break, the Department of Health has been working with providers to ensure adequate levels of cover.
GP Out of Hours will be available from 6pm on Friday 15 April to 8:30am on Wednesday 20 April.
Pharmacists can offer advice and treatment for common conditions, recommend treatment and refer patients to other healthcare professionals as appropriate.
Please check the community pharmacy rota to find out when pharmacies are open in your local area.
If you experience a dental problem, patients should ring their dental surgery or if they are not registered with a dentist, they should contact a local dentist. Dentists will have arrangements in place to offer advice, prescription for pain relief or referral to an Urgent Dental Care Centre.
Optometry practices (Opticians)
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.
Out of hours Emergency Social Work Service
If you have a social care emergency which cannot wait until the next working day, please call the 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.
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