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

22nd December 2022

HSE Media Release

Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo

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

The HSE Community Healthcare Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo 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
  • Contact your family doctor as necessary
  • The GP out of hours service is a high quality clinical service for urgent care. Know the Christmas opening arrangements
  • Emergency Departments treat seriously ill patients. Those with less severe injuries and symptoms may have to wait to be seen in Emergency Departments.

Caredoc - Urgent Out of Hours GP Service

Caredoc  provides urgent out-of-hours GP care for patients of participating practices in Sligo, North Leitrim and West Cavan.  The service can be contacted by calling 0818 365399

The Caredoc service is a partnership between the GP members of Caredoc and the HSE.  It provides an urgent GP family Doctor service to patients of GP members in Sligo, north Leitrim and west Cavan. The service is designed to provide urgent GP care to patients and is not a substitute for the Emergency Ambulance Service, who are the appropriate service to deal with medical emergencies where they arise.

Caredoc is an appointment-based service

Caredoc is not a replacement for the Emergency Services. For emergencies call 999 or 112 

Caredoc’s arrangements for Christmas 2022 are as follows:

  • Friday 23rd December 6 P.M – Wednesday 28th December 9am
  • Friday 30th December 6pm – Tuesday 3rd January 9am

We anticipate that this Christmas season 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 e.g. 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, Caredoc should be contacted in the case of children whose condition deteriorates following home measures or who are very lethargic or experiencing difficulties.
Last updated on: 22 / 12 / 2022