breakingnews.ie– A number of emergency departments in Northern Ireland are under “extreme pressure”, it has been warned.
The public have been urged to consider alternatives, such as contacting GPs or pharmacies, if their condition is not urgent.
The Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, Co Down and Craigavon Hospital in Co Armagh are both struggling to meet demand.
The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust issued an appeal on Twitter on Sunday.
“We need your help. The Ulster Hospital Emergency Department is under extreme pressure.
“If your condition isn’t urgent, please consider other options,” it said in a post.
It urged people to contact their GPs or pharmacies, attend minor injuries units or to use an out of hours service, if possible.
Covid a significant factor
The Southern Trust has also issued a similar appeal as it said Craigavon Hospital was experiencing “extremely long waiting times”, with the situation “unlikely to improve soon”.
It said Covid-19 was a significant factor in the issues facing the hospital.
It wrote on Twitter: “Craigavon ED is really busy–100 people in ED +45 waiting to be admitted.
“Expect extremely long waiting times.
“Covid-19 adding significantly to bed pressures & unlikely to improve soon.
Staff working v. hard to see everyone. U can call (GP) Out of Hours for serious urgent problems.”
A further 1,225 positive cases of Covid-19 were reported in Northern Ireland on Sunday, as well as nine deaths in the previous 24 hours, the Department of Health said.
To date, 2,440,759 vaccines have been administered in total in the region.