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GHA offers snapshot of busy festive period, and a reminder flu season and Covid still present

The GHA offered a snapshot of a “particularly busy” festive period for its staff, even while thanking the community for acting on its advice and only seeking medical help when absolutely necessary.

The pressure came from a combination of flu, Covid, and other viruses which are normal at this time of year but more prevalent after periods of isolation during the pandemic.

The GHA asked the public for its support before the festive period by acting responsibly and using self-care and community pharmacies when possible before attending A&E or booking a GP appointment.

Professor Patrick Geoghegan, the GHA’s Director General, thanked the public for cooperating and heeding the GHA’s advice, which “allowed us to manage extremely well over the festive period”.

He also thanks GHA staff, adding that without them it would be impossible to deliver the level of service the community expects from the GHA and avoid the types of challenges being experienced in other countries at this time.

To illustrate the workload, the GHA said that from December 23 to January 2, a total of 2440 GP appointments were provided as well as 1283 phone calls being received to the 111 clinical helpline.

Additionally, the A&E department at St Bernard’s Hospital saw over 800 attendances in the same period, “with all emergencies being dealt with immediately”.

For all non-emergency attendances to A&E, the average waiting time in the period, from arrival to triage, was 11 minutes.

Thereafter the average wait time from arrival to being seen by doctor was one hour and four minutes, “with the most urgent life-threatening cases being seen immediately”, the GHA said.

There were also a total of 168 admissions at St Bernard’s Hospital.

“I would like personally to thank every single member of staff as well as the entire community for their support throughout the holiday period,” Prof Geoghegan said.

“We have been very busy, as is the case every year, but we were able to manage well thanks to your support.”

“We look forward to 2023 with optimism and excitement for further reforms within the GHA to make our service even better and further improve PCC communications and waiting times.”

“Please don’t forget that the flu season and Covid virus is still around and we strongly recommend that anyone with flu and cold symptoms use self-care and our community in the first instance and only book a GP appointment if you really need one.”

“This will ensure that anyone who really needs a GP appointment is able to get one.”

“I wish you and your families a very happy and healthy 2023 and look forward to keeping you updated on changes over the coming year.”

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