New Primary Care Covid-19 centres opening across Northern Ireland

THE expansion of Primary Care Covid-19 centres continues across Northern Ireland.

Today sees the opening of GP-led centres in Belfast, Dungannon and Banbridge.

Further centres will open later this week in Antrim, Coleraine, Newtownards, Lisburn, Downpatrick and Enniskillen.

The first centre opened last week in Derry/Londonderry. The situation will be kept under review and further centres may be opened.

The centres have been rapidly established in each Trust area to help manage the increase of Coronavirus cases in the community by allowing patients who are showing symptoms of the virus to be separated from those with non Covid-19 related conditions.

This is essential to ensure that vital GP services can be maintained in the coming weeks and months with minimum disruption.

Covid-19 centres are not testing facilities. They are only for patients who are unwell, are suspected of having Covid-19 and require medical attention.

Patients will not be able to report directly to these centres without being referred by their GP or Out of Hours provider.

Patients attending these centres will receive appropriate treatment, assessment and, if necessary, onward referral to hospital.

The centres will enable GPs and health and social care staff to work together in a suitable clinical environment and to plan what is best for the individual in terms of their treatment and any additional care that they need.

People with underlying health conditions whose symptoms get worse, and those who feel they cannot manage their symptoms, should contact their GP or Out of Hours provider for an initial assessment over the phone.

They may be referred to one of the Covid-19 Centres. Patients will not be able to go directly to a centre without being referred by their GP or Out of Hours provider.

Current information and advice in relation to Covid-19 can be found on the PHA website: www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus

Patients who have a persistent cough, or high temperature, together with any other members of their household must self-isolate according to the guidance. www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/covid-19-coronavirus#what-should-i-do-if-i-think-i-have-coronavirus

The Department of Health NI has launched a new Covid-19 NI information app to provide people with immediate advice and links to vital trusted information.

The app will be updated as the pandemic evolves. Download the Covid-19 NI app – search for Covid-19 NI on the Apple app store and Covid-19 NI on google play.

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