Health and social care services over Easter

Date published: 03 April 2023

With the Easter holidays approaching, the public are being reminded of the different health and social care services available in Northern Ireland - and how to access them.

Department of Health Latest News image white text on a departmental blue background
Department of Health Latest News image white text on a departmental blue background

Over the holidays, if you or some of your family members feel unwell, it is important, to choose the service most appropriate to your symptoms, so you can get better quicker.

There are a range of healthcare services available to help you such as Community Pharmacies, the Phone First service, Minor Injuries Units, GPs and NIPEARS participating optometry practices for eye problems.

If you have a mild or minor illness, you can find information about a range of common illnesses using the NI Direct symptom checker.

Self-care is the best choice to treat most minor illnesses, ailments and injuries.  A range of common illnesses such as aches and pains, colds, upset stomachs and sore throats can be treated with over the counter medicines and plenty of rest.

In the event of a life-threatening emergency, always dial 999.

The Emergency Department should only be used for sudden and acute illness or severe trauma.


Always remember to order your repeat prescriptions prior to your GP practice closing for the holidays.

Community Pharmacy

Your community pharmacist can offer advice and treatment for common conditions, recommend treatment and refer patients to other healthcare professionals as appropriate.

GP opening hours over Easter

GP practices will be closed on: Monday 10 April 2023 and Tuesday 11 April 2023.
Contact your GP – search for GP contact details here

GP out of hours

This service is for urgent medical care when your GP surgery is closed. Find your local GP out of hours service here

Minor injuries Units

A Minor injuries unit can treat injuries that are not critical or life threatening, such as:

  • injuries to upper and lower limbs
  • broken bones, sprains, bruises and wounds
  • bites - human, animal and insect
  • burns and scalds
  • abscesses and wound infections
  • minor head injuries
  • broken noses and nosebleeds
  • foreign bodies in the eyes and nose

Some Minor Injuries Units are operating a Phone First service. Check your local service here before you attend

Emergency Departments

Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma. Some Emergency Departments are operating a Phone First service. Check your local hospital to see if this service is offered.

For all emergencies that are life threatening, always call 999 immediately. This can include: Stroke, heart attack, loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding or major trauma.

Out of Hours Dental Services

For out of hours urgent dental problems, patients should ring their own dental practice in the first instance.  The practice will outline their out-of-hours arrangements or advise you to contact the Emergency Dental Clinic directly.

If they are not registered with a dentist, they should contact a local dental practice. Further information on Emergency Dental Services can be found here

Emergency Dental Clinics (EDCs)

Patients can only normally only contact EDCs on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Over the Easter holidays, the EDCs will operate on the following dates:

  • Sat 8 April 2023
  • Sun 9 April 2023
  • Mon 10 April 2023
  • Tues 11 April 2023

Tel: 028 2566 3510 (Telephone lines are open from 8.00am to 12 noon)

Telephone calls will be directed to a dentist for triage and if deemed clinically necessary, advice or treatment at an EDC will be provided for the following dental conditions:

  • dental swelling (spreading infection).
  • trauma to teeth arising from an external force.
  • uncontrolled bleeding following extraction.
  • severe dental pain not controlled by over the counter medications.
  • please note – as there is high demand for out-of-hours appointments patients may have to travel outside their area for treatment slots.

Patients should not attend any site without an arranged appointment. Normal General Dental Service charges will be payable for those patients attending EDCs.

Urgent eye care

If you have an urgent eye problem during the holiday period, please contact your local Optometrist in the first instance. If your Optometry practice is closed and your eye problem is very urgent and cannot wait until normal opening hours, please contact your nearest Hospital Emergency Department

Out of hours Regional Emergency Social Work Service

This service is for genuine emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day.

Regional Emergency Social Work Service 028 9504 9999.

Mental health emergency

For mental health emergencies, call Lifeline free, in confidence, 24/7 on 0808 808 8000.

Resources are also available for Community Wellbeing NI | self-help guides and ways to access help to support your mental health and wellbeing.

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  2. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt(external link opens in a new window / tab)
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110

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