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The HSC have released a statement urging the public to stay safe and stay well this Bank Holiday weekend in the face of anticipated extra pressures on health and social care services across Northern Ireland.

We are asking the public to be patient with staff and to expect to have to wait for non-urgent treatment.

We’re also asking the public to work with us by doing the following:

1)    Get your Covid-19 vaccine – and make sure you get both doses for the fullest possible protection

2)    For minor ailments, please get help and advice from your local community pharmacist. A range of common illnesses such as sunburn, hay-fever, aches and pains, 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. Please check online for information on when pharmacies will be open. HSCBUSINESS.HSCNI.NET

3)    If you or a relative are in hospital and have been certified clinically fit to be discharged, please take the first community or residential care bed which has been offered. This will allow our hospitals to admit patients who are very sick and require an acute hospital bed.

4)    Continue to follow public health advice on preventing Covid infection.

If you or someone you know is seriously ill, in a critical or life-threatening situation, then you should go to a hospital Emergency Department without delay.

There are a number of reasons why the health and social care system is facing significant pressures.

We are now facing a new wave of COVID infections and capacity within health and care services is still limited due to infection prevention measures. 

We are also seeing more people come forward for medical care or conditions including mental health illness that developed during lockdown.

Many health and social care staff have also been working extremely hard over the last year and some are now taking the leave they are entitled to and which they very much deserve.

The rise in COVID-19 infections is a reminder that we must continue to do all we can to stop the virus spreading. By getting fully vaccinated, with both doses of your vaccine, you will be playing an important part in supporting our health service. 

Anyone, adult or child, who has COVID-19 symptoms should book a PCR Covid test immediately. PCRs – the most accurate tests - are available at testing sites across Northern Ireland and can be booked at: WWW.GOV.UK

If your PCR test is positive, you need to self-isolate and provide all the information and assistance you can to the Contact Tracing Service. That helps trace possible contacts and contains virus spread.

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