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Minor Illness

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. 

Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First have recently expanded the services they provide. This link provides updated information.

Pharmacy First for Every day Health Conditions

This service is offered from every community pharmacy in NI and provides advice and if necessary treatment for conditions such as:acne, athlete’s foot, diarrhoea, earwax, groin infection, haemorrhoids, head lice, mouth ulcers, oral thrush, scabies, threadworms, vaginal thrush, verrucae.

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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.

Link to advice re earwax

Link to advice re warts and verrucae

Link to advice re Home BP monitoring

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Falls Prevention

Falls and injuries associated with falls are common for people aged 65 years and older. 

The Falls prevention service provides assessment and advice, as well as onward referral to other services and professionals

You can now self - refer to this service on this link.  It is currently only available to those living in the South Eastern Trust area.

Belfast Trust have provided this resource (linked)


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

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Podiatry Self- Referral

It is now possible to self- refer for Podiatry.  Podiatrists assess, diagnose and treat people with problems that affect their feet, ankles and lower limbs.  The service includes: nail surgery, foot related problems for people with conditions such as diabetes, vascular disease and arthritis.

For those patients living in the Belfast Trust (Arches Wellbeing centre, Knockbreda Centre), you can self refer by phoning:

028 90 565565 

If you live in the South Eastern area (Bangor, Newtownards), you can self-refer using the attached link.

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Children's Health

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. 

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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

  • breathing difficulties.


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

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