Trust helping parents choose the right service

The Southern Trust's Health Visiting Team is encouraging parents to make the best use of the GP Out of Hours service.

Raising awareness: Health Visitor Clare Walsh, Health Visiting Manager Deirdre Ward and Cathrine Reid, Head of Service for GP Out of Hours, with Emma Murtagh and her children Pippa and Henry.

GP Out of Hours is a phone-based service for serious, urgent medical conditions that cannot wait until your own GP practice reopens. The team of GPs, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Advisors and Pharmacists will advise the majority of patients over the phone, some may need an appointment at base and a small number will require a home visit.

The Health Visiting Teams have been giving out information and discussing with families how to use the service to make sure everyone gets the most appropriate care for their needs. The local Sure Start Projects have also been involved in getting the message out to families.

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Welcoming the support of the Health Visiting Team, Cathrine Reid, Head of the GP Out of Hours Service, says: “Parents can understandably be anxious when their child is unwell and of course should seek help during the out of hours period if their little one is showing serious symptoms like difficulty breathing or a very high temperature.

“Our team work hard to treat patients as quickly as possible but we must prioritise the most serious patients, so those with less urgent symptoms will have to wait longer.

“There are many common childhood ailments that we often receive calls for like teething, nappy rash or feeding problems that whilst they can cause distress for children and families, can be treated at home or with support from your Community Pharmacy, Health Visitor or your own GP.

“We really welcome this support from our Health Visiting colleagues who are helping to raise awareness of when to contact us and reassuring parents about those more minor ailments that can be treated at home or by other health care staff.”

Further information for parents on using the GP Out of Hours Service can be found online at

If you are unsure about your baby’s condition the Lullaby Trust has developed a useful check list which can be accessed online at