Be Winter Ready – know where to go when you’re ill

Be winter ready – know where to go when you’re ill

The HSE Midlands Louth Meath Community Healthcare Organisation is reminding people to be ‘winter ready’ and to know where to go to access the healthcare which best suits their needs.

The health service is here for you this winter from routine appointments to urgent care. Visit It contains lots of health information and advice from the HSE, including tips for eating well, exercise and physical activity, and minding your mental health over the coming months. 


Prevention is always better than the cure. We know that it is better to ward off future illnesses and complications from existing conditions than deal with them when they have happened.  There’s plenty that you can do to keep well, protect your health and mind yourself and your loved ones. It’s good to prepare a checklist for wellness this winter:

  • Register with a GP
  • Know your urgent GP out of hours arrangements and contact
  • Get vaccinated
  • Understand your medicines and ensure you have what you need in the holiday period
  • The best advice with regard to injuries this winter is to avoid them if possible. If it is cold and icy, stay indoors
  • Understand your symptoms and keep well, visit
  • Avoid people with any obvious symptoms

Be prepared – Know where to go

Despite our best efforts, some of us undoubtedly will become ill over the winter time. There are a number of treatment options open to you depending on your illness – being prepared and knowing where to go will mean that you will get treated more quickly and will ease pressures on the healthcare system.

Here is a list of care and treatment options:

  • Visit your local pharmacy for treating the common cold
  • See your family doctor for all non-urgent illness
  • The GP out of hours service is a high quality clinical service for urgent care. Know the Christmas opening arrangements
  • A Local Injury Unit can treat a wide range of injuries such as broken bones, dislocations, sprains and strains, minor burns and scalds. All units have access to x-ray and basic diagnostic services. For more information see
  • Emergency Departments treat seriously ill patients. Those with less severe injuries and symptoms may have to wait to be seen in Emergency Departments.

Urgent Out of Hours GP Service

NEDOC provides urgent out-of-hours GP care for patients of participating practices in counties Cavan, Monaghan, Meath and Louth (excluding Dundalk).    The service can be contacted by calling 1800 777 911

Operations Manager with NEDOC Ltd Arlene Fitzsimons stresses that the doctor on call service provides urgent out of hours GP care when your own surgery is closed in the evening and advises people not to call for routine matters that can wait until your GP surgery is open.

“NEDOC is an urgent service, it is not a routine replacement for your own daytime GP. If patients have routine issues, they should make an appointment with their own daytime GP who is best placed to manage their long-term health. However, patients with urgent medical concerns that arise when their own GP surgery is closed should contact NEDOC on 1800 777 911.  In the event of an emergency or if your situation deteriorates, you should contact the emergency services immediately on 112 or 999.”

“The NEDOC service is not a walk-in service. It is by appointment only for those who are seriously unwell. Patients should also remember that GP surgeries will be open as normal until Friday 23rd December, and again from Wednesday 28th – Friday 30th 2022 inclusive. Patients should check the opening times of their own GP surgery.”

NEDOC’s arrangements for Christmas 2022 are as follows:

  • From 6pm Friday 23rd December to 8am Wednesday 28th December 2022
  • From 6pm Wednesday 28th December to 8am Thursday 29th December 2022
  • From 6pm Thursday 29th December to 8am Friday 30th December  2022
  • From 6pm Friday 30th December to 8am Tuesday 3rd January 2023

She added, “The NEDOC service has already seen significant increases in patient demand since mid-November, and have seen the highest level of calls to the service since we started in recent weeks, leading to longer waiting times for patients calls to be answered.

We anticipate that this Christmas season, with a 4-day Christmas (24th-27th) and 3-day New Year (31st/12 -2nd/1), to be busier than ever and this higher demand from patients will create delays getting through to the service at peak times or in waiting for a call back from a triage nurse, and again longer waiting times for an appointment. Where preparations can be made in advance, we advise patients and families to do so, by taking steps such as:

  • Patients who may need regular prescriptions are urged to get them filled by their own surgery in advance of Christmas;
  • People are advised to check their first aid boxes are well stocked to treat minor ailments at home without having to contact NEDOC; (paracetamol, ibuprofen, calpol nurofen, diarolyte and a thermometer);
  • Patients should also check the HSE website for useful advice on common illnesses like colds, coughs, flu, earache and sore throats;
  • In terms of advanced care planning, if you are caring for someone that is terminally ill, please have medicines that are recommended by your Palliative Care team or GP for situations that could arise;
  • A lot of respiratory illnesses are likely to occur in children over Christmas, most of these illnesses can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications. Good advice on self-care is available from However, NEDOC should be contacted in the case of children whose condition deteriorates following home measures or who are very lethargic or experiencing difficulties.

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