The HSE is urging people to think before using the NoWDOC service over Christmas.
The HSE says Now Doc’s primary concern is to provide urgent GP care to patients of participating GPs who become ill outside of regular surgery hours. If patients call for non-urgent or routine matters, the HSE says, it prevents the system operating at its best for those who really need it.”
Where possible, patients should contact their own GP who will be running surgeries over the Christmas period. The Now Doc service will operate next weekend and on the three bank holidays - Tomorrow, Christmas Day, Wednesday December 26th and Tuesday January 1st.
Service on all other days are as per normal GP surgery arrangements.
The HSE is reminding patients in Donegal that Now Doc is not a walk-in service, and people should ring 1850 400 911 in the first instance.
The HSE statement in full -
Christmas is a busy time for all, with people preparing to spend this special time with their families and friends. In NoWDOC, staff are also hard at work preparing for what is the service’s busiest time of the year. There are threepublic holidays between Christmas and New Year which NoWDOC cover in addition to the usual evening and weekend service.
While it is difficult for the GPs and NoWDOC staff who are missing out on this festive time, they are committed to covering out-of-hours GP medical care needs in the communities they serve. To help them provide the best service, NoWDOC Service Manager, Mr Pauric Sheerin, is asking patients to be mindful that the NoWDOC service is only for patients who require urgent GP medical care.
Dr Diarmuid Hegarty, NoWDOC’s Clinical Director echoed this by saying, “NoWDOC’s primary concern is to provide urgent GP care to patients of participating GPs who become ill outside of regular surgery hours. It is critical that these patients can access the NoWDOC Service promptly. If patients call for non-urgent or routine matters, it prevents the system operating at its best for those who really need it.”
NoWDOC will be providing its normal range of services as deemed medically appropriate, including Free Nurse Advice. NoWDOC is an appointment-only service. Where patients of NoWDOC GP members require urgent GP care, they can telephone NoWDOC on the lo-call number 1850 400 911.
Where possible, patients should contact their own GP who will be running surgeries over the Christmas period. Please see the NoWDOC service opening hours as set out below.
NoWDOC Service Opening Hours Over Christmas/New Year Period 2012
The NoWDOC services over the holiday season will operate as usual, for both weekends and the three bank holidays on Tuesday 25 December, Wednesday 26 December and Tuesday 01 January 2013. Service on all other days, which are not weekends or bank holidays are as per normal GP surgery arrangements.
NoWDOC Opening Hours:
Monday 24 December
Christmas Eve - Normal Monday Hours: 1800 – 0800.
Tuesday 25 December
Christmas Day - Bank Holiday: 0800 – 0800.
Wednesday 26 December
St Stephen’s Day - Bank Holiday: 0800 – 0800.
Thurs 27 December
Normal Thursday Hours: 1800 – 0800.
Friday 28 December
Normal Friday Hours: 1800 – 0800.
Saturday 29 December
Normal Saturday Hours: 0800 – 0800 and see note below* for Letterkenny and Carndonagh.
Sunday 30 December
Normal Sunday Hours: 0800 – 0800.
Monday 31 December
New Year’s Eve - Normal Monday Hours: 1800 – 0800.
Tuesday 01 January
New Year’s Day - Bank Holiday: 0800 – 0800.
If you are unsure who to call, you can phone your GP’s telephone number and they will have a message on their phone telling you the number to contact to access the doctor who is covering for them.
*Saturday Hours for Letterkenny and Carndonagh
For patients of GPs who are attached to the Letterkenny and Carndonagh NoWDOC services, the NoWDOC service for these patients does not commence until 12 noon, and all calls prior to this time on Saturday, should be directed to the patients’ own GP.
How can you help?
To assist NoWDOC in providing the best quality service, the public can help the NoWDOC staff by following the steps below:
1. Have the following information ready if you have to call NoWDOC:
- Patient’s name, if known to you;
- Contact telephone number; a landline if possible or mobile if you don’t have a landline;
- Current location of the patient;
- Patient’s date of birth or age;
- Name of the patient’s own GP or Family Doctor;
- Patient’s Medical Card details if applicable; and
- Details of any current medication.
2. If your call relates to a critical or life threatening situation you should ring the 999 emergency ambulance service. Ambulance service will contact the NoWDOC service if they require the attendance of a GP.
3. Do not call for routine matters that can wait until your doctor is back in his/her surgery.
4. Make sure that you get prescriptions filled so that you have enough medication over the holiday season.
5. Have your medicine cabinet/first aid box stocked. NoWDOC is here to help you, but it is always useful to have the following items in your home:
For Children: Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, thermometer, Diarolyte.
For Adults: Paracetamol, antihistamines (for allergies), anti-diarrhoea agents, anti-emetics (tummy upsets).
General Supplies: Disinfectant, cotton wool, dressings, bandages.
6. Remember that this is an extremely busy time for the service so please be patient if you are experiencing delays in (a)getting through to the service , (b) the service calling you back and (c) waiting to be seen by a GP in a treatment centre. Calls are prioritised and patients presenting with urgent symptoms will be dealt with first.
7. NoWDOC is not a walk-in service. Please ring first and an appointment will be arranged for you, if necessary.
NoWDOC wishes all its patients a healthy and happy Christmas season.