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Mr Brian Murphy, Head of Planning, HSE Primary Care Division, commented: “We want to remind people to be prepared this Christmas by renewing prescriptions early and to book GP appointments for routine visits during normal clinic hours. As the Christmas holidays are the busiest times for the GP out-of-hours services, we are asking people to reserve this service for people with urgent medical problems only.”
As part of the 2017 Christmas period campaign, posters with up-to-date Christmas and New Year opening hours for each of the GP OOH services will be displayed locally, stated the Executive. Its social media campaign is also helping to prompt people to prepare ahead of the holidays and to reserve the GP OOH services for those with urgent medical conditions.
A ‘Stay Well this Christmas’ webpage on the HSE site at www.hse.ie/winter provides information and advice on keeping well over the holiday period.
The HSE said GP OOH services are for patients with “urgent medical problems that cannot wait until their own GP practice re-opens”.
Earlier today, the HSE issued a press notice advising that, just like in previous years, emergency departments (EDs) expect to see more patients attending this winter. Many of these patients will have complicated illnesses and complex care-needs, meaning that the number of patients who need to be admitted to hospital for treatment and care will increase.
“As we prioritise treatment and care for the sickest patients and those with life threatening illnesses, it means that patients with less serious illnesses and conditions may need to wait longer for their treatment,” stated the HSE. “That is why we are asking people to think about all of their care and treatment options so we can keep our ED services for the patients who need them most. For example, many patients with limb injuries can go to an Injury Unit and others with illnesses needing less urgent treatment can be seen and treated by their GP or referred by their GP to an Assessment Unit the following day. On the other hand if you are seriously injured or ill or are worried that your life is at risk, you can be assured that our EDs are open 24/7, 365 days of the year and will assess and treat you as a priority.”