Next week sees the first step in restoring 24/7 access to Lagan Valley Hospital, when the out- of-hours GP service moves to its new home beside the Emergency Department.
The aim of the move is to co-locate the out-of-hours with the Emergency Department to allow patients access to the hospital through the one door.
The relocation will be finalised on Tuesday, November 24, and will promote closer collaboration to ensure patients are directed to the most appropriate service for their presenting condition.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson welcomed the relocation.
“This will help to move us towards a 24 hour a day, seven days a week, cover for the Lisburn area,” he said.
“The Trust have asssured me they are committed to taking this forward and will support both the Emergency Department and the out-of-hours to ensure the vast majority of local people are able to access treatment within the Lisburn area when they require it.”
The Emergency Department is currently open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and closed at weekends.
Any emergency or serious injuries arriving at the GP out-of-hours service will be immediately directed to the nearest available Emergency Department for assessment and treatment.
GP out-of-hours provides primary care when the daytime surgery is closed, for conditions managed by a family doctor.
It is not equipped to provide any services offered by an Emergency Department or a Nurse-Led Minor Injuries Unit.
The GP out-of-hours service will operate on Monday to Friday from 6pm to 8am, and open 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays.
Patients must ring first to speak to a doctor for medical advice and priority will be given to those with the most urgent medical conditions.
The out-of-hours doctor will arrange an appointment time in the centre for patients who need a face-to-face assessment.
Home visits are arranged for terminally ill or truly bedbound patients.
Patients arriving without an appointment during busy times will need to wait until an appointment is available, or they may be asked to return later, depending on their clinical symptoms.
Patients invited to the out- of-hours centre will come in through the main Emergency Department (A&E) entrance and proceed to the GP out-of-hours reception desk.
Their details will be confirmed by a receptionist and they will be asked to take a seat until they are called by the duty doctor.
The closer working between GP out-of-hours and the Emergency Department is expected to be mutually beneficial when both are operational “as patients can be directed to the most appropriate service for care and treatment”.
The GP out-of-hours can be contacted on 9260 2204 .