Health services in Midlands encourage public to know their healthcare options this Bank Holiday

Ahead of the June Bank Holiday Weekend, the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore and HSE Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation want to remind the public of their treatment options before attending the Emergency Department (ED) at the hospital.

General Manager in Tullamore Hospital, Catriona Mc Donald, said: “While we are preparing for a busy Bank Holiday period in the hospital, we ask everyone to consider all options before going to ED. Those who believe they may be seriously ill and require emergency care should of course come to hospital, but we would urge others to consider seeking support from pharmacists, GPs, GP out-of-hours services and injury units. While some patients may regrettably experience long wait times in our emergency departments, urgent patients will always be prioritised for treatment and care.’

There are a range of care pathways available to patients who do not need emergency care including:

· Visiting your pharmacy for advice on common minor illnesses. Find out more here

· Making an appointment with your GP if you’re feeling unwell and it is not an emergency

· If you urgently need to see a GP outside of normal hours, contact your local GP Out of Hours service, details below:

MIDOC is an appointment only GP service located in the Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath Areas. This service is for patients who need urgent medical attention that cannot wait to be seen by their usual GP. Opening Hours: Weekdays, Monday to Thursday 6pm to 8am. Weekends 6pm Friday to 8am Monday. All day on Bank Holidays. Telephone 1800 302 702 or go to GP Out of Hours service: GP out-of-hours service - for more information.

An Injury Unit can treat a wide range of injuries such as broken bones, dislocations, sprains and strains, minor burns and scalds for all patients. All units have access to x-ray and basic diagnostic services. For more information see Local Injury Units are based at Charter Medical Private Hospital, Ballinderry, Mullingar, Westmeath and Roscommon University Hospital, Athlone Road, Roscommon.

Emergency Departments treat seriously ill patients. Visit an ED or call 999 or 112 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. Those with less severe injuries and symptoms may have to wait to be seen in Emergency Departments

Tullamore Emergency Department is busy with high numbers of patients attending, many presenting with complex needs requiring admission. You can help our staff at this busy time by considering other options for non-emergency care such as Injury Units, Out of Hours GP and pharmacies before attending an Emergency Department. This is in order to protect our EDs for patients who need urgent and emergency care.

Patients who present at the Emergency Department with non-urgent conditions may experience long wait times to be seen. Any patient who needs emergency hospital care will be seen and we would urge such patients not to delay attending the ED. Do not delay in seeking medical attention if you suspect you are having a heart attack or stroke, please dial 999 or 112 in an emergency.

Be Sun Smart

With temperatures expected to reach over 20 degrees celsius over the bank holiday weekend, the HSE is reminding people to be "Summer Ready.” Protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun, including sunburn, dehydration and skin cancer is also important at this time of year. The HSE’s #SunSmart campaign aims to increase awareness of the steps you and your family can take to protect your skin from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer using five simple steps:

· Slip on clothing that covers your skin e.g. long sleeves and collared T-shirts

· Slop on sunscreen on exposed areas using factor 50+ for children

· Slap on a wide brimmed hat

· Seek shade – especially if outdoors between 11am and 3pm

· Slide on sunglasses to protect your eyes

Urging people to remain #SunSmart this weekend, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE’s Public Health Area, Dr Christopher Carroll, offered the following advice:

“We are starting to experience warmer weather and we may see forecasts predicting further hot and sunny conditions. The general advice from the HSE for such circumstances is for people to stay hydrated, keep cool and to keep a close check on those who may be particularly vulnerable including babies and the elderly. In addition, one of the messages of the HSE’s annual #SunSmart information campaign is that sunscreen is an important sun protection measure but should not be used as the only line of defence. It should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade. Up to date weather forecasts and warnings are available on”

“So, whether you are spending time outside in the garden, enjoying a barbecue or are attending outdoor events, follow the five #SunSmart simple steps to learn how to protect yourself and your family this summer. See and check out #SunSmart on social media.”

Information on how to manage common illness and advice on when to get emergency help is also available at and in relation to children. The Be Summer Ready website also offers practical, simple guidance on keeping safe over the summer months.