It is estimated that every year, 50 million visits to the GP are made for minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild eczema, and athlete's foot, which could be easily managed by a Community Pharmacist.
Community Pharmacists offer professional free health advice on everyday illnesses, such as cough, colds, aches and pains. They can also advise about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines. They may signpost you to speak to a GP if they feel this is more appropriate.
Pharmacists can also offer expertise on healthy eating, obesity and giving up smoking.
Your local pharmacist can advise on managing minor complaints such as colds, coughs and indigestion with over the counter medication.
Always read instructions carefully and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.
Pharmacy First Service
The Pharmacy First enables patients to access treatment from their local pharmacy free of charge.
Conditions currently covered include:
Oral/ vaginal thrush
Acute eye problems
The Northern Ireland Primary Eyecare Assessment and Referral Scheme (PEARS) is a self referral service provided by most Optometry Practices across N. Ireland.
Examples of appropriate conditions include red eyes, sudden reduction in vision, flashes and/ or floaters, suspected foreign body in the eye.
A list of participating Optometrists is found here.
Serious Illness/ Emergency
Physiotherapy Self- Referral
It is now possible to self- refer for Physiotherapy. Most of our patients reside within the Belfast trust area and will find the link for online referral here
A printable version can be downloaded here
The link to self-refer to Physiotherapy in the South-Eastern area is found here. (This is for patients living in Newtownards, Holywood or Bangor areas)
There is also a link for advice and information on self- management here
If your child is unwell, you may find this online 'Symptom Checker' tool helpful.
It has been developed by the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and will provide you with guidance on how to deal with common conditions and symptoms.
Sexual and Reproductive health
SH:24 is a free, discreet and confidential service which provides free STI kits, contraception and some treatments such as those for warts and herpes.
Emergency Department (A&E)
Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses.
Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:
loss of consciousness,
severe pain not easing with simple analgesia
acute confused state,
persistent, severe chest pain, or
Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.
A Consultant led Urgent Care Centre has opened in the Downe Hospital's Emergency Department. This is operating 8am-6pm, Monday- Friday on an appointment only basis.
To access this service you must call 028 4483 8091