- Message from the Chief Medical Officer
- Christmas opening hours, and contact details for GP out of hours service
As we approach Christmas weekend, I would like to wish all of our patients a very happy Christmas, and all the best of health and happiness in 2023.
- This year has been another challenging one. COVID19, influenza, and RSV are all spreading furiously throughout the country and the community.
Elderly, immunosuppressed, and obese patients remain at greatest risk of complications of COVID19. Elderly and very young children are most at risk from complications of RSV. Unfortunately there is no way to predict an individual’s response to infection.
For this reason, I encourage anyone with a cough, cold, flu-like illness, ‘chest-infection’, or temperature, to stay at home and isolate, to protect particularly vulnerable friends and family, especially over the Christmas season.
Masks help reduce spread of all of these extremely contagious viruses. Antigen tests prior to meeting older or vulnerable people are recommended, but if you are symptomatic of respiratory illness, you should isolate whether your antigen test is negative of not.
2. Please find below a message received from the Chief Medical Officer received today, 22/12/2022
‘This winter period will undoubtedly be a difficult time for the health services with COVID-19 still presenting significant challenges and the circulation of other seasonal viruses.
The key messages are:
- Many people who were infected with COVID-19 in late 2021 and earlier in 2022 will now be eligible for a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers are strongly encouraged to register for their Winter COVID-19 booster vaccine if they have not already done so. Book a booster appointment on www.hse.ie or alternatively if it is available in your place of work.
- Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate until 48 hours after symptoms have substantially or fully resolved – please do not attend any social events, work, school or college if you have symptoms.
- Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 should self-isolate for 7 days from date of onset of symptoms, or if asymptomatic, date of first positive test. Anyone exiting self-isolation at day 7 should continue to adhere to other public health protective measures.
- Mask wearing is advised on public transport and in healthcare settings. Mask wearing is also advised based on individual risk assessment. Anyone who wishes to wear a mask should not be discouraged from doing so. Individuals who are vulnerable to COVID-19 are further advised to be aware of the risk associated with activities they may choose to engage in and to take measures to optimally protect themselves. Vulnerable individuals are advised to consider wearing masks in crowded indoor settings, such as may relate, for example, to social gatherings or other activities and events.
- Continue to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene by washing and sanitising hands regularly and coughing/sneezing into your elbow. Maintain a physical distance where possible.
- Meet up outdoors if possible. When meeting indoors, avoid poorly ventilated spaces and keep windows open if possible. ‘
3. What do I do if someone is unwell over the holiday period?
The Healthcentre Longwood will be closed on weekends and bank holidays during the Christmas period (Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th December, and Monday 1st January).
During this time, North East Doctor On Call will be open for emergencies GP services. If you need an urgent appointment, NEDOC can be contacted at 1800 777 911. NEDOC can not deal with : acute emergencies which require emergency department facilities; repeat prescription requests; routine appointments; sick certs for work.
If you are unwell with respiratory symptoms and isolating, paracetamol can be taken to ease symptoms.
We expect that the out of hours service will be very busy, so please check http://www.undertheweather.ie for advice about managing common mild respiratory (and other) illnesses prior to ringing NEDOC.
4. Remembering those patients who were here last Christmas
I would like to take this opportunity to send our condolences to the families and friends of those patients who were here last Christmas, and are now gone. It is such a difficult time. Please know that your loved ones are remembered, and will never be forgotten here. If you are struggling, please let us know.
Wishing you a peaceful Christmas from us all here at the Healthcentre Longwood,
Dr Cliona Lewis