The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has issued a reminder over the appropriate use of hospital services.
A Trust spokesperson said: “Over April/May, we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to our EDs with injuries that happened outdoors, such as little ones with bruised ankles after bouncing off their trampolines or men with sore hands after a burn from the barbeque.
“We want to highlight what our minor injuries services can and can’t treat and again encourage people to choose the most appropriate health service depending on their ailment.
“If a patient attends Antrim (Hospital) ED (Emergency Department), on arrival, they can also select to be seen by minor injuries services, which are led by a specialist nurse, meaning they don’t have to wait to be seen by staff that are treating those with more serious conditions.
“Minor injuries service specialist staff can assess, diagnose, treat and discharge patients with suitable conditions including carrying out x-rays.
They can treat people over five years with: possible broken bones (from the shoulder to the hands and lower limbs only); sprains and strains; minor facial injuries such as a broken nose; wounds, bites, cuts, small abscesses or boils, grazes and minor scalds and burns; foreign bodies in the skin, eyes, ears or nose; minor head injuries (fully conscious patients who did not experience loss of consciousness and have no headache, vomiting, drowsiness or confusion and are not taking blood thinning medication.
However, the Trust has stressed that the minor injuries services cannot treat the following and patients should use another service:
Any child under five years with any condition; conditions due to medical illness such as fever or seizures; suspected serious injury; injury due to a fall from a height or a motor vehicle incident; chest pain; breathing problems; abdominal pain; gynae problems; pregnancy-related conditions; allergic conditions; back, neck, pelvic or hip pain or injuries; injury due to self-harm.
The Trust continued: “If your condition is serious or life-threatening and needs urgent treatment, please always go to ED or call an ambulance, if appropriate.”