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Knowing what to do in an emergency can be difficult and stressful; however it is vital to choose well in order to receive the right care at the right time and save lives.

There are different healthcare services available to help you find the right expert care to treat your condition.

For minor, short term conditions, you can self-care or ask a pharmacist for advice. Emergency services deal with serious medical needs where there is a serious risk to life or your health.

  • Emergency Department


    Emergency Departments treat and care for people with a serious injury or life-threatening condition.

    If you or someone near you has a life-threatening medical emergency, call 999 immediately or go to your nearest emergency department.

    Ulster Hospital Emergency Department

    Open 24 hours every day.


    • you should not go to an Emergency Department as an alternative to your GP
    • calling 999 for an ambulance does not get you to the top of an ED queue – patients are seen based on medical need, not who gets to the hospital first
  • Urgent Care Centre

    An Urgent Care Centre is a consultant led service equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend an Emergency Department for. 

    There are two Urgent Care Centre’s in the South Eastern Trust.

    Both services are PHONE FIRST.

    Those contacting the service will be triaged and offered an appointment within the urgent care service or directed to the most appropriate service.

    Downe Hospital
    8am- 6pm, Monday – Friday (The Downe operates a Minor Injury Service at the weekend. You can find out more below)
    (028) 4483 8091

    Lagan Valley Hospital
    Monday – Friday 8.00 am-6.00 pm
    (028) 9260 4643

  • Minor Injuries

    A Minor Injuries Unit can treat injuries that are not critical or life-threatening. You should attend a Minor Injuries Unit if it is suitable for the type of injury that you have.

    What can be treated at a Minor Injuries Unit

    Types of injuries treated can include:

    • 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

    You should telephone the Minor Injury Unit first. If your injury is assessed as appropriate for attendance you will be given an appointment.

    Alternatively you may be given advice by phone or referred to another service.

    HospitalOpening HoursContact Numer
    Downe Hospital
    2 Struell Wells Road
    BT30 6RL
    Saturday - Sunday, 9am – 5pm,
    by an appointment only basis.
    The telephone number for Downe
    Hospital Minor Injuries
    Service is (028) 4483 8091.
    Those contacting the service will be
    given an appointment as appropriate.
    OPEN on Christmas Day.
    (028) 4483 8091
    Ulster Hospital
    Former Emergency Department Building
    7 days a week
    Ards Community Hospital
    Church Street
    BT23 4AS

    There are also minor injury facilities in the Ulster Hospital Emergency Department, Lagan Valley Urgent Care Centre (Phone First) and the Downe Urgent Care Centre (Phone First).


  • GP out of hours

    *GP Out of Hours will be available on 12 July for urgent medical care only.

    The GP out of hours service is for people who need urgent medical treatment that cannot wait until their doctor’s practice opens.

    When you mustn’t use the out of hours service

    Don’t use the GP out of hours service for:

    • repeat prescriptions
    • dental problems
    • minor ailments that a pharmacist can treat

    Using the out of hours service

    GP out of hours is available if you need urgent medical care when your GP surgery is closed.

    GP out of hours services are:

    • 6.00 pm on week days until your GP surgery opens the next morning
    • 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday
    • 24 hours on public holidays

    You should telephone the out of hours service first. The doctor or nurse will assess you and:

    • give you advice by telephone
    • decide if you need to see a doctor
    • refer you to another service
    North Down & Ards Area
    Down & Lisburn Area
    Tel: (028) 9182 2344

    Ards Hospital
    Church Street
    BT23 4AS
    Tel: (028) 9260 2204

    Downe Hospital
    2 Struell Wells Road
    BT30 6RL

    Lagan Valley Hospital
    Hillsborough Road
    BT28 1JP
  • Pharmacy

    Pharmacists are qualified experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. Qualified pharmacists can also offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, ear infections and much more.

    Before going to your GP, it is worth speaking to your pharmacist.

    A pharmacist will be able to advise you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

    To find your nearest open pharmacy click here. 

  • Self-care

    Many common conditions, such as cold and flu, are often short-lived and can normally be treated well at home with rest and over-the-counter medicine to help treat and ease the symptoms. Click here for advice on caring for yourself at home.

  • Mental Health Emergency

    If you were or are being treated for a mental illness, you should have a care plan. If you have a care plan, it will have names and numbers you contact in an emergency.

    If you don’t have a care plan, or can’t find it, you can contact your mental health worker or seek help and support from the following agencies:


    If you or someone you know needs help, you can telephone Lifeline  free at any time. Lifeline is a crisis response helpline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to people in Northern Ireland. It offers immediate help over the telephone if you, or someone you know, is in distress or despair.

    Telephone: 0808 808 8000
    Lifeline freephone helpline

    The Samaritans

    The Samaritans offer a 24-hour telephone helpline:

    Telephone: 028 9066 4422 (local call charges apply)
    National telephone: 116 123 (this number is free to call)
    textphone: 08457 90 91 92


    If you’re under 19, you can contact Childline:

    Telephone: 0800 1111

  • Social Work Emergency

    The new Regional Out of Hours Social Work Service (RESWS) provides an emergency social work response across Northern Ireland on an out of hour’s basis:

    • 5.00 pm to 9.00 am weekdays
    • 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays

    This is an emergency service to be used only when you need a Social Worker urgently, after hours.

    The RESWS will provide services for the following groups:

    • Children and young people
    • Older people
    • People with mental health problems
    • People with learning difficulties
    • People with physical disabilities
    • Families and carers of all these groups

    The service is also responsible for emergency homelessness for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and emergency financial issues for the Social Security Agency outside normal working hours.

  • Dental Emergency

    As a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Emergency Dental Clinics are no longer seeing walk in patients and have been replaced by Urgent Dental Care Clinics.

    All patients with urgent or emergency conditions should contact their local dentist by phone, Monday – Sunday. Patients who do not have a dentist can call a local dentist and will be given instructions over the phone. For more information click here.

If you or someone near you has a life-threatening medical emergency, call 999 immediately or go to your nearest emergency department.