When you or someone you love is feeling unwell, there are different services available which can offer advice and support.
You can immediately dial 111 (NHS 111) if you need help straight away but it isn’t an emergency.
Use Your Pharmacy
Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses such as colds, flu, minor rashes and pain relief. They can also help answer any questions you may have about the medication you are taking.
Many pharmacies are open late into the evening and all have a consultation room so you can speak in private. Pharmacist advice can also include recommending you to see your GP or attend urgent care services.
Many local pharmacies are open on bank holidays.
111 is the fast, easy and free NHS non-emergency contact. You can call 111 or fill in an online form at www.111.nhs.uk.
When you call 111 you will speak to a highly trained adviser who is supported by healthcare professionals. The adviser will ask you a series of questions to assess your own, or the patient’s symptoms, and you will then be directed immediately to the most appropriate medical care.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is no charge to use the website and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice when it is not a life-threatening situation.
- 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.
Self-care at Home
You can often self-treat many minor illnesses and injuries at home by keeping your medicine cabinet and first aid kit well-stocked with medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Most simple ailments will begin to get better within a couple of days. Self-care and stay well by keeping your medicine cabinet stocked up with these items.
When to Visit Your GP
If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away, you should make an appointment to see your GP. GPs can provide a range of treatments and can also refer you to other health services if you need specialist advice or treatment.
If you're moving away from home to go to university, it's important to look after your health. Practical steps you need to take include registering with a new GP. Find out more about GP services and how to register as a patient.
Is it an Emergency?
Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments and 999 services should only be used in real emergencies.
Emergency services are for people who must be treated as quickly as possible. An emergency is a critical or life-threatening condition, such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Heavy blood loss that cannot be stopped
- Persistent, severe chest pain
- Head injuries
- A suspected stroke or heart attack
- Severe breathing difficulties
- Suspected broken bones
- A deep wound, such as a stab wound
To find your neatest A&E you can enter your postcode on the NHS Choices Urgent Care Finder and you will be able to see where your nearest A&E department is (plus any additional instructions).
Dental Emergencies and Out of Hours Care
If you need urgent treatment, please contact your usual dental practice as they may be able to see you or direct you to an urgent dental care service. If you have dental pain but you do not have a regular dentist contact NHS 111 for advice. Go to The NHS Website dental services for more information.