Need treatment or care? Here’s how to get the right care, first time

Published on 3 July 2018

If you are unwell or injured it is important to choose the right NHS service.

Choosing the right care, first time means that you and your family will get the best treatment available and allows busy NHS services to provide treatment and care in the most appropriate setting.

Follow these steps to get the right care, first time.


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.

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. 

Many local pharmacies are open on bank holidays.

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.

NHS 111 - by phone or online 

111 is the fast, easy and free NHS non-emergency contact. You can call 111 or fill in an online form at

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.

When you visit you will be asked questions which will assess your symptoms and, depending on the situation, will be directed 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. Call 111 or visit 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.

You may be directed to the urgent care centre at York Hospital which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Depending on where you live in the Vale of York, you may be asked to attend the New Selby War Memorial Hospital for an appointment at Minor Injury Unit. The unit is open between 8am-9pm, 365 days a year for patients attending without a pre-booked appointment via 111.

You may be offered self-care advice to help you take care of yourself at home or advice on the local service that can best help you.

If necessary, the advisor on the phone may call an ambulance for you or if you are using the online system you may be advised to call an ambulance directly.

You can download information leaflets in a range of languages and formats and find out about the British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter for the NHS 111 service at

A&E is for medical emergencies and serious health needs, such as having difficulty breathing, chest pains or serious accidents.

Emergency services are for people who must be treated as quickly as possible. If you have a medical emergency call 999 for an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency department. The emergency department in the Vale of York is located at York Hospital.

If you are unsure about the type of care you need call 111. An adviser will direct you to the most appropriate health service.

The Vale of York GP Out of Hours Service is available 365 days a year. It is provided from the urgent care centre at York Hospital and the Minor Injury Unit at the New Selby War Memorial Hospital.

The service does not accept walk in patients. Appointments must be arranged by calling 111, the free non-emergency number. Home visits are provided where appropriate.

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.