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Get the right care from the right service at the right time

Choose well thermometer
Go ot A&E or call 999 in critical or life-threatening situations Go to your nearest walk-in centre for treatment of minor illnesses or injuries See your GP for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions for illnesses you just can't shake off Go to your local pharmacy for advice on common seasonal illnesses, and the best medicines to treat them Contact NHS Direct for any health questions around the clock and to find local services Treat minor illnesses yourself
A&E or 999

What to do?

Accident and Emergency departments are found at most hospitals. They help people who show signs of being very ill or are badly injured.

If you telephone 999 and tell the operator that there is a medical emergency, a response vehicle will be sent to your location.

When and why?

Emergency services are very busy. They should only be used in very serious or life-threatening situations.

Choosing well ensures that essential treatment is given, in the shortest possible time.

Examples

  • Choking

  • Chest pain

  • Blacking out

  • Blood loss.

More information

Treatment of minor illnesses or injuries

Walk-in centre

What to do?

NHS walk-in centres, NHS urgent care centres or NHS minor injuries units can treat minor illnesses and injuries and give you health advice. Most are open from early in the morning until late at night. You do not need an appointment, and you will be seen by an experienced nurse or a GP.

When and why?

If you need medical treatment or advice which does not need a visit to A&E or a medical appointment.

Choosing well ensures you receive the best possible treatment, leaving emergency services to those who need them most.

Examples

  • Cuts

  • Strains

  • Itches

  • Sprains

More information

Medical advice, examinations and prescriptions

GP

What to do?

GP surgeries can be found locally across London. You can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations, and prescriptions.

In an emergency, out-of-hours GP services are available - if you need this service telephone your local surgery and follow the recorded instructions.

When and why?

Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away.

Choosing well ensures that you get the treatment you need, and reduces the demand on emergency services.

Examples

  • Vomiting

  • Ear pain

  • Sore belly

  • Back ache.

More information

Advice on common seasonal illnesses, and the best medicines to treat them

Pharmacist

What to do?

Pharmacies can be found in local areas across London. Your local pharmacist can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them.

When and why?

Visit your local pharmacy when you are suffering from a common health problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor.

Choosing well ensures you get the treatment you need in the shortest possible time, reducing the pressure on essential NHS services.

Examples

  • Diarrhoea

  • Runny nose

  • Painful cough

  • Headache.

More information

Any health questions around the clock and to find local services

NHS Direct

What to do?

NHS 111 is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, for urgent, but not life-threatening, medical help or advice. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Call 111 if you:

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

When you call NHS 111, you will speak to a trained adviser (advisers are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics). They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening pharmacy.

More information

Treatment of minor illnesses

Self-care

What to do?

A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the counter medicine and getting plenty of rest.

When and why?

Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.

Choosing well ensures you receive the rest and recovery you need, meaning busy NHS services can help those who need them most.

Examples

  • Hangover

  • Grazed knee

  • Sore throat

  • Cough.

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