Dr Paul Molloy’s remarks coincide with news that the total number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland since the start of the pandemic is now in excess of 2,750. Indeed, more than 283,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in NI since the pandemic began 20 months ago.
Dr Molloy said: “We are all very aware that the situation as regards the position our health service is in is just as bad, if not worse, than it was last year.
“It is very important that those who are invited get their Flu and COVID vaccinations to prevent them getting ill.
“We are very busy in primary care. The number of GP consultations per week in General Practice is 230,000, with around half of those being converted to a face to face appointment. GPs are also actively employed in the most comprehensive winter vaccination campaign ever.
“Our colleagues in A&E are under immense pressure. It is very important that people use all the different methods of help available. For minor ailments, that might be the pharmacist. GPs, while under pressure, are open and available. Due to the ongoing need for social distancing and infection control in practices, we will phone people before deciding on the need for a face to face appointment. Many practices are using video consults also.
“The doctors and nurses in the hospitals and the community continue to do their very best.”