Emergency departments in Northern Ireland under 'high level of pressure'
Emergency departments in Northern Ireland are currently experiencing a "high level of pressure", the Health and Social Care Board has said.
In a joint statement with the Public Health Agency it urged members of the public to consider other care options available to them such as their GP, Minor Injury Unit or local pharmacy if their symptoms are not urgent or life threatening.
The Health and Social Care Board said it was working closely with all Trusts.
It said: "By choosing the most appropriate service patients will receive the right treatment in the right place and will help alleviate pressures on other urgent care services at this very busy time.
“The public are reminded that Emergency Departments provide the highest level of emergency care for patients, especially those with sudden and acute illness or severe trauma.
"Patients who present at Emergency Departments will always be dealt with in order of clinical priority, so more acutely ill patients will be seen first."
The statement continued to say that it was "regrettable" that some people were having to wait longer to be treated.
It said: "The public can assist by only attending an Emergency Department if their condition is urgent, so helping to ensure that the sickest patients get the care they need.
"The Board and Agency are currently working closely with all Health and Social Care Trusts to optimise the flow of patients within hospitals and will continue to monitor the situation.”