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Choose Well – if you need to use health and care services Easter


The Health and Social Care Board together with the Trusts, local GPs, pharmacists and dentists have been working to ensure that local people have access to urgent care services over the Easter holiday period. The following health and care arrangements will be in place should you or a member of your family become ill or have an accident.

As part of the Choose Well campaign, we are encouraging everyone to “think where and choose well”. Choosing the service most appropriate to your symptoms will mean you get the right treatment in the right place and will also help to manage your health service resources.

Self care is the best choice to treat 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.

Information on how to use your health services can be found at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell


Your local pharmacist can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and complaints. The Health and Social Care Board has been working closely with local pharmacists to draw up holiday pharmacy rota arrangements. For more information log onto: www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell

Please remember to order 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.

Out of hours GP Service

The GP out of hours service is available if you require urgent medical care when your daytime GP surgery is closed. Remember to telephone the service first.

The doctor or nurse will give you advice over the telephone, decide if you need to be seen by a doctor or will refer you to another service if required.

The GP out of hours service will be operating for all GP Practices from 6pm on Friday 18 April until GP Practices open on Wednesday 23 April. Details of your local GP out of hours can be found at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell

Out of hours Dental Services

Details of dental services will be displayed at dental surgeries or can be obtained by contacting your dentist.

For out of hours urgent dental problems, you should contact your dental surgery or visit: www.nidirect.gov.uk/choosewell for details of your nearest Relief of Dental Pain Clinic.

The Relief of Dental Pain Clinic is for the treatment of dental emergencies only, including trauma, swelling, uncontrolled bleeding and severe pain.

Out of hours Emergency Social Work Service

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 Regional Emergency Social Work Service on 028 9504 9999.

Minor Injuries Unit

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.

Emergency Departments

Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma. Normal Emergency Department services will be operating throughout the holiday period as usual. The service is for those in need of emergency treatment.

999 Ambulance Services

As always, the emergency ambulance service will be there if you need it. Always dial 999 when there is a risk to life or of serious injury. But, if your call is not an emergency, then please use the most appropriate service and help keep the 999 system clear for life threatening emergencies. Remember, you could risk a life if you tie up an emergency line for a non-emergency call. Your call could delay someone with a real emergency. Keep emergency lines free.

Please make sure you Choose Well and get the right treatment for you and your family and help manage your health services resources.

The Health and Social Care Service would like to wish you a safe and healthy Easter.