The Southern Trust Emergency Department team is appealing for people to consider if they are choosing the right service before coming to hospital this winter.
With continued increasing demand, Emergency Departments are anticipating another very challenging winter period as Clinical Director for ED services at Daisy Hill and Craigavon Area Hospital, Dr Gareth Hampton explains:
“The numbers attending our Emergency Departments have increased by 20% over the past five years. We are very busy all year round, but with the seasonal increase in flu, viruses and the risk of falls and fractures with bad weather, winter always presents additional pressures for our team.
“We have been working with our colleagues throughout both hospitals to put plans in place, including extra beds and additional staff to cope with another busy winter.
“And we are also appealing to the public to consider if you are choosing the right service before arriving at the Emergency Department. Is it something you could treat yourself at home, ask your Pharmacist about or could you wait to see your GP? Our GP Out of Hours and Minor Injuries Service are other options if your symptoms are not immediately life threatening but do need medical attention.
“Of course please do come to the Emergency Department if you have sudden acute symptoms but we are not the place to come to just as a way of bypassing your GP or the Outpatients system.
“We have a brilliant team of staff in our Emergency Departments at both Daisy Hill and Craigavon Hospital who will always do their very best to treat everyone as quickly and safely as possible.
“Those most acutely ill patients must be prioritised, so if you are waiting longer to be seen – please understand it could be because we are trying to save someone else’s life behind the scenes.”
There are different healthcare services available to help you find the right expert care to treat your condition. For minor, short term conditions, you can self-care or ask a pharmacist for advice. Emergency services deal with serious medical needs where there is a serious risk to life or your health.
Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. 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.
For advice on using the right service and how to stay well this winter go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/stay-well