In a medical or mental health emergency, call 111 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department immediately.
The emergency department is only for critical and life-threatening situations, such as head injuries, chest pain, breathing trouble, broken bones, and severe bleeding.
For almost all non-urgent illnesses and injuries, you should contact your local health clinic first.
Even at night and on weekends when the clinic is closed, a nurse will be available to answer the phone and give you free advice. You can also call 0800 611 116 for free professional health advice at any time.
Your local health team is equipped to deal with a wide range of health issues, and can give you the best advice on where to go if you need help from another service.
A lot of minor illnesses and injuries – such as colds, cuts and scrapes – don’t necessarily need to be seen by a professional.
You can treat minor pain and illnesses by using good hygiene, resting, eating well, drinking lots of water and taking over-the-counter medications as directed on the package.
You can talk to staff at a pharmacy or chemist for advice on minor illnesses and injuries – such as headaches, minor allergies, and painful coughs. They can sell you some treatments and over-the-counter medications.
For prescription medications, you will need to consult a doctor or prescribing nurse.
Your GP team may advise you to visit an after-hours service. This may be if you have a medical condition that is not an emergency, but can’t wait 24 hours to be seen.
Page last updated: 8 October 2019
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