Right place, right time
Don’t just dial 999 if it’s not a serious emergency.
Find the right service to treat you – it may be quicker, and even closer to your home. Using the right service means you don’t spend hours waiting in A&E, and treatment can be given quicker to those really in need of urgent care.
Coughs and colds / Grazes / Hangover
You can treat these at home – in fact, that’s the best place for you. Why not look at the excellent first-aid section on NHS Choices.
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.
A range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.
Make sure that your medicine cabinet is well stocked with:
- A thermometer
- Aspirin (not for under 16yrs)
- Rehydration mixture
- Anti-diarrhoea medicine
- Indigestion remedy
Diarrhoea / Headache / Sore throat / Painful cough / Runny nose / Minor illnesses / Upset stomach / Skin conditions
Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional who can provide advice and treatment for these common conditions as well as dispensing prescriptions. Free emergency contraception is also available at some local pharmacies.
You can find details of your nearest pharmacy at www.nhs.uk
NHS 111 is a free phone service that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It offers a one-stop number for patients with urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms who want a fast and easy way to get help when they need it.
You should call 111 if:
- It’s not a 999 emergency
- You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service
- You don’t think it can wait for an appointment with your GP
- You don’t know who to call for medical help
For less urgent health needs you should still contact your GP in the usual way.
For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.
These are some of the things your GP can help you with. Your GP is your first port of call for on-going illnesses or injuries.
Your GP provides a range of services by appointment and will be able to assess your immediate needs as well as refer you into a specialist service, such as outpatients, if necessary. They also know your medical history so are best placed to manage you.
Many surgeries open longer hours, however, if your surgery is closed, call the usual practice number and you will be given the number to call or be automatically diverted to NHS 111.
Walk-in-Centre or Minor Injuries Unit
If you have an urgent but non-life-threatening illness or condition, attend the urgent care centre.
The urgent care centre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With no appointment necessary your local walk in centre is managed by doctors and nurses who are available to deal with minor illnesses and injuries, such as cuts, burns, sprains and suspected breaks.
Please note: Not available in all areas.
Blacking out / Bleeding you can’t stop / Severe chest pain / Choking / Loss of consciousness / Stroke
These are all emergencies and you need urgent hospital care.
Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and 999 should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation. A&E departments provide immediate emergency care for people with very serious or life-threatening illness.
At A&E the most seriously ill patients will be seen before those with less urgent care conditions. This means that some people have to wait for several hours or they may be signposted to their GP, pharmacist or other healthcare services who will be able to assist them.
Dial 999 or go immediately to your nearest A&E department:
Help us to help those who really need it
South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) strives to provide the best care for patients.
We are continuing to experience increased levels of demand on our services and urge the public not to call us unless they are in a life threatening situation.
Our staff remain extremely busy and are working hard to get to our most life threatening patients as a priority. However, there could be delays in responding to patients who are not suffering from life threatening symptoms.
We are urging the public to use our services appropriately and only call 999 if absolutely essential. If you are suffering an injury or illness which is non-life threatening then please use the most appropriate service available to you.
Always try to pick the right place at the right time on life-threatening injury or illness can be treated by accessing the appropriate NHS service. If you are not suffering from a life-threatening emergency but require medical advice or treatment there are several different options available to you.