Trust urges people to ‘choose well’ for medical advice and treatment

The Northern Trust today urged people who are feeling unwell to remember that they have choices when it comes to seeking medical advice and treatment.

Traditionally, urgent and emergency cases rise during the winter with hospitals, GPs and community nursing teams all experiencing increased workloads. However there is a range of healthcare services available to help people find the right expert care to meet their needs. Picking the service most appropriate to their symptoms will help to ensure that they receive the right treatment in the right place.

Dr Ken Lowry, Medical Director at the Northern Trust said: “Our objective is to provide the best care and treatment that we can to patients but it is vitally important that Emergency Department resources are focused on the sickest and most critically ill patients. We now have available very effective alternative care pathways. So if people feel unwell, I would encourage them to consult their GPs who can then decide the most appropriate pathway for them.”

As alternatives to the Emergency Department, Antrim Area Hospital has a Direct Assessment Unit and a Rapid Access Clinic. Both of these provide GPs with direct access to senior medical advice and consultation for medical patients. The Acute Assessment Unit is for those with urgent and immediate medical problems and the Rapid Access Clinic provides medical services for those patients where the need is not quite as urgent and appointments can be made perhaps the following day.

The Health and Social Care Board has been running a ‘Choose Well’ campaign for a number of years. It encourages people to pick the service most suitable for their needs.

In the Northern Trust area services and suggested pathways are as follows:
• Coughs and colds – visit your pharmacist
• Medical complaints and/or pain – contact your GP
• Cuts/wounds, limb injuries, bites, burns/scalds, eye injuries and chemical splashes – Minor Injury Units in Antrim Area and Mid-Ulster Hospitals (available Mon-Fri, 9.00am – 5.00pm, excluding public holidays)
• Out of hours – Dalriada Urgent Care, telephone 028 2566 3500 (available weekdays from 6.00pm to 8.00am.
• For life threatening emergencies such as stroke, heart attack and/or severe bleeding that can’t be stopped – visit your Emergency Department or call 999.

Page last updated:11 December 2015