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Board urges public to choose the right care service during winter pressures


Choosing the right care may not mean a trip to an Emergency Department. The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is urging the public to Think Where and Choose Well to help ease pressures on Health and Social Care services across Northern Ireland.

There are a range of health services available to you in your area that can help. Last month the Board launched the ‘Choose Well’ campaign encouraging people to think carefully this winter about how they use health and social care services, should they or their family become unwell or have an accident.

The ‘Choose Well’ campaign aims to help people gain a better understanding of the range of services available, from self-care at one end right up to 999 and Emergency Departments at the other. It encourages the public to choose the most appropriate option, so they can get better, quicker.

Urging everyone to choose the right care service for them, Health and Social Care Board Chief Executive, Valerie Watts said:

“We encourage the public who require care to ensure they choose the right service for them in line with our current ‘Choose Well’ campaign. This will help ease the current pressures on our Emergency Departments, which provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma,

“Many common ailments can be treated effectively through self-care at home or by seeking advice from your local pharmacist. However those with serious concerns about their health should of course always consult their GP or an Out-of-hours service such as Minor Injury Units or GP Out-of-Hours. Emergency and 999 services are for life threatening and serious conditions,” she added.

The Choose Well campaign provides the public with important information on what each of services available can provide such as:

Self-Care – Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. A range of common illnesses and complaints, such as aches and pains, coughs, colds, upset stomachs and sore throats can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.

Pharmacists – Your local pharmacist can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints such as Eye infections, stomach upsets, skin conditions, allergies, aches and pains etc, without you having to wait for a GP appointment or go to your Emergency Department.

Mental Health – If you’re experiencing mental health difficulties, it’s important to talk to your GP about your thoughts and feelings. Your GP will assess your needs and together with your GP you will be able to determine the best course of action.

GP – GPs provide a range of services including medical advice, examinations, prescriptions and ongoing care for more longstanding or chronic conditions. They can also provide, diagnosis of symptoms, health education, vaccinations and simple surgical procedures.

GP Out of Hours – GP out of hours is available if you require urgent medical care which cannot wait until your GP surgery reopens. GP out of hours services operate from 6pm each weekday evening until your GP surgery opens the next morning, and 24 hours on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Minor Injuries – 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 and other minor alignments.

ED / 999 – Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma such as, suspected heart attack, suspected stroke, serious head injury and serious accident

For more information on the range of services available see www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell or follow us on twitter – https://twitter.com/HSCBoard like us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/healthandsocialcareboard