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Public appeal as ’emergency’ numbers peak

A SENIOR health official in Armagh has appealed to the public to be aware of the correct place to go to seek medical attention after it was revealed numbers attending local emergency departments had peaked.

Dr Gillian Rankin, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s Director of Acute Services. said those attending Craigavon Area Hospital and Daisy Hill in Newry had “increased significantly” in recent days.

In a statement issued today (Tuesday), she asked for the co-operation of the public to help reduce pressures on this vital service.

Dr Rankin said: “Over the course of a recent weekend, the number of people attending both Emergency Departments was significantly higher than would be expected over a normal weekend.

“There has also been a marked increase in the numbers of acutely ill patients.

“It is crucially important that only those people with emergency conditions should attend the Emergency Department. These busy departments continue to provide care and treatment to patients but the public can play a significant role in helping to ease the burden.

“Staff in Emergency Departments are there to provide specialised treatment for people who are seriously ill or injured and need to be treated urgently. Too often, we find our time and resources taken up by people whose ailments are neither serious nor urgent.

“Trust staff will always do everything they can to ensure that all patients are treated as quickly and safely as possible but we appeal to everyone to help us to help those who need us most at this busy time.

“Remember there are other services that can help you so please think carefully before choosing the right one. For example if you have a minor ailment, a visit to your pharmacist may be all you need or you can attend a Minor Injuries Unit for treatment of a minor condition like cuts, sprains, minor burns etc…

“GPs or GP Out of Hours and local pharmacists all provide non-emergency treatment in the community and I would urge people, where appropriate, to use those services instead.”

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