Local health chiefs have issued advice on holiday arrangements over the New Year.
The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) together with the Western Trust, GPs, pharmacists and dentists, have been working to ensure that people have access to urgent care services over the New Year holiday period.
A number of pharmacies across Derry are expected to open on New Year’s Day and on Monday, January, 2 with the Health and Social Care Board reporting that local arrangements are in operation and that no rota has been required.
In Limavady meanwhile on New Year’s Day, Gormleys Pharmacy at 171 Irish Green Street
will open from 4pm to 6pm.
In Strabane, Colhouns Chemist at 11 Castle Street will open on New Year’s Day from 6pm to 7pm.
On Monday, Gibsons Pharmacy, 15 Market Street, Limavady will open from 5pm to 6.30pm, while in Strabane, Boots at 60/62 Main Street will be open from 6pm to 7pm.
As part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, which is being run by the HSCB and the Public Health Agency (PHA), the health service has encouraging everyone to look after themselves, and to choose the service most appropriate to their symptoms if they fall unwell.
A spokesperson said: “Self-care is the best choice to treat most 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.
“Please remember to order and collect any essential repeat prescription medications from your daytime GP surgery in advance of the holiday period. GP out-of-hours will only provide repeat prescriptions in exceptional circumstances.”
Anyone requiring urgent medical care which cannot wait until daytime GP surgeries re-opes, is advised that the GP out-of-hours service is available. Remember to telephone the service first.
Western Urgent Care will be operating for all GP practices over the New Year period from 6pm on Friday, December 30 until GP practices re-open at 8.30am on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. The telephone number for Western Urgent Care is 028 7186 5195.
Details of dental services over the holiday period will be displayed at dental surgeries, or can be obtained by contacting your dentist.
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 service on 028 9504 9999.
Normal Emergency Department services will be operating throughout the holiday period as usual, but local people have been cautioned that the service “is only for those in need of emergency treatment”.
If anyone is facing a mental health crisis or emergency, the Board has advised to seek immediate help, either via the emergency contact on the person’s health plan or a mental health key worker, if they have one, or failing that an emergency appointment with GP, or contact your GP out-of-hours service if the emergency is at night, weekend or a public holiday; or go to the Emergency Department at a hospital who will on your behalf make contact with emergency mental health services.
“In the event you can’t get the person you are caring for to an Emergency Department or you can’t keep them safe, you should call 999 and seek immediate assistance.
“If you, or someone you know, needs help and you would like to speak to someone by telephone, you can also call Lifeline free, in confidence, 24/7 on 0808 808 8000.”