People are being warned not to put Northern Ireland’s health services under undue pressure over the winter, as preparations are made to try to cope with demand.
Last year, 16,000 patients were treated at emergency departments across Northern Ireland between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
Nearly 1,000 of them waited longer than 12 hours from arrival to either admission or discharge.
Winter pressures are an annual problem, but each year, the problem seems to be getting worse.
This year, £10m has been set aside to try to help alleviate the worst of the impact.
But doctors are still urging people not to go to hospital except in a genuine emergency.