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Getting the Right Treatment

If you become unwell or injured, without knowing your local health services, you may unnecessarily call or visit A&E. Unwarranted visits to A&E puts tremendous strain on the doctors, nurses and paramedics. A&E is to be used for emergency and life threatening conditions only. More information on where to get the best treatment for your condition is available here.

Self-care

It is important to keep a well stocked medicine cabinet to treat Minor Illness and injuries such as colds, headaches, cuts and bruises. Being able to self treat minor illnesses will save both yours and the doctor’s time.

Your pharmacist can advise on what you might find useful to keep in your medicine cabinet. Always follow the instructions on the medicine label and consult your doctor if the illness continues or becomes more severe.

Your Local Pharmacist

Pharmacists offer professional free health advice at any time - you don't need an appointment. From coughs and colds to aches and pains, they can give you expert help on everyday illnesses. They can answer questions about prescribed and over-the-counter medicines.

Pharmacists can also advise on health eating, obesity and giving up smoking. Some pharmacists have private areas where you can talk in confidence. They may suggest you visit your GP for more serious symptoms. It is possible to purchase many medicines from the chemist without a prescription.  Watch this short video  on how you can get the most out of your local pharmacy

GP Out of Hours Services

For urgent advice and treatment when the surgery is closed, phone the surgery on the usual number and an answer phone message will advise you of an alternative number to dial. A receptionist in the emergency call centre will answer your call. They will:

  • Either arrange for your to speak to a doctor or nurse  
  • Or invite you to attend the centre to be seen by a doctor   
  • Or arrange a home visit if you are too ill to visit the centre

NHS 111 service

NHS 111 is a new service that's being introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.

When to use it:

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.

Call 111 if:

  • You need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency.
  • You think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service.
  • You don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call.
  • You need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.

For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.

NHS Walk-In Centres/ Urgent Care Centres 

NHS Walk-In Centres and Urgent Care Centres offer convenient access to a range of NHS services. You can receive treatment for many ailments including:

  • infection and rashes,
  • fractures and lacerations,
  • emergency contraception and advice,
  • stomach upsets,
  • cuts and bruises, or
  • burns and strains.

NHS Walk In Centres treat around 3m patients a year and have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services. Some centres offer access to doctors as well as nurses. However, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.

Accident & Emergency (A&E)

Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. A&E and 999 services are for emegency and life threatening conditions only, such as:

  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia,
  • Acute confused state,
  • Persistent, severe chest pain, or
  • Breathing difficulties.

If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union. Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.