A fresh warning has been issued over the pressures facing Accident and Emergency Departments in Derry and across the north.
The Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency issued the joint warning on Sunday after an influx of patients in the post-Christmas period.
Both organisations have urged people to carefully assess options before presenting at A&E.
A spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board said people should consider other care options available to them such as their GP, nearest Minor Injury Unit or local pharmacy if their symptoms are not urgent or life threatening.
He added: “By choosing the most appropriate service patients will receive the right treatment in the right place and will help alleviate pressures on other urgent care services at this very busy time.
“The public are reminded that Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma.
“Patients who present at Emergency Departments will always be dealt with in order of clinical priority, so more acutely ill patients will be seen first.
“It is regrettable that some people are having to wait longer to be treated in Emergency Departments or to be admitted to hospital at this time.
“The public can assist by only attending an Emergency Department if their condition is urgent, so helping to ensure that the sickest patients get the care they need.”
A ‘Choose Well’ campaign has now been launched aiming to help people gain a better understanding of the health services available to treat everything from a common cold to a major emergency.
For more information on choosing the right service visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell.