If you are injured or ill, the NHS provides a range of services to help you get well.
You can get better, faster treatment by choosing the NHS service that can best treat your symptoms. This also helps the NHS by reducing the pressure on services like A&E so that they can help those people in most need – people with chest pain or blood loss, or who are blacking out or choking.
A lot of common illnesses can be treated at home by using over-the-counter medicine and getting plenty of rest. It is worth keeping paracetamol or aspirin, anti-diarrhoea medicine, rehydration mixture, indigestion remedy, plasters and a thermometer in your medicine cabinet. Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. For more information about looking after yourself visit www.nhs.uk.
Your local pharmacist can give you friendly, expert advice about over-the-counter medicines that can help with lots of common conditions such as diarrhoea, a runny nose, a painful cough or a headache, without the need for an appointment. As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists provide a range of services related to specific health issues and can advise on minor ailments such as colds, skin conditions and allergies. Other services include emergency contraception and incontinence supplies. For help finding your nearest pharmacist, use the online search on www.nhs.uk or call 0300 311 22 33.
Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away, including persistent vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache or back ache. Get the treatment you need at a convenient time and place and reduce the demand on our emergency services. Registering is free and means you can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions. For help finding your nearest GP, use the online search on www.nhs.uk or call 0300 311 22 33. If you need to see a GP urgently when your practice is closed, call 111 for fast medical advice.
Urgent care and walk-in centres
Local urgent care centres and walk-in centres provide fast medical treatment and advice for patients with injuries which are urgent but do not need a visit to A&E. They can also be used when you can’t wait for an appointment with your GP. These centres treat injuries and illnesses such as cuts, sprains and strains, broken bones, minor burns and scalds, minor head and eye injuries, bites and stings. You don’t need to book an appointment – just turn up and you will be seen promptly by a doctor or nurse. To find your nearest urgent care or walk-in centre visit NHS Choices on www.nhs.uk. You can also call 111 for urgent medical advice.
When you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency, call the NHS free phone number 111. The 111 service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls to 111 will be assessed, advice given and, if needed, patients will be directed to the most appropriate local health services. Calls to 111 are free wherever you call from. Call 111 if:
- You need an NHS urgent care service
- You don’t know who to call for medical help
- You need information about a health issue
If it is an emergency and someone needs help to save their life, call 999.
There is a crisis and emergency service available to support people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and who need help quickly. The service can be accessed through your GP and by calling 111. Lines are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
A&E or 999
A&E departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to treat people with serious and life threatening emergencies.