Do you really need to go to the Emergency Department (A&E)?

Emergency departments should only be used in a real emergency or life-threatening situation.

There are often much better alternatives to get the right care for your health needs at the right time, without a long wait in an Emergency Department. 

Click the links below to find out more.

Self-care is the best way to treat common illnesses and injuries such as coughs, colds, slight cuts and grazes. You can treat them at home with a range of medicines and a first aid kit bought from a pharmacy or supermarket.

You can prepare for many common illnesses and injuries by having a chat with your local pharmacist who can give you advice on what self-care medications to have at home.

With all self-care if your symptoms recur, or if you are no better after two days, call NHS 111 for advice or contact your GP.

A pharmacist can give advice on a minor injuries or illnesses, such as infections, cold and flu, travel advice  and rashes. They can also prescribe certain medicines including emergency contraception, flu vaccines and emergency supplies of your regular prescriptions.

They often have a private consultation room if you need to talk to them in confidence.

Find your local pharmacy

When you are unwell but you do not need urgent medical attention, you should make arrangements to see your GP.

Not registered with a GP?

Find your nearest surgery to register

Alternatively, if you have an urgent medical matter, you can visit a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.

If you have an urgent but non life-threatening medical concern, you can get advice from a fully trained adviser by calling NHS 111.

NHS 111 is available 24/7 and is free.

The adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and direct you to the right medical care, which can include:

  • sending an ambulance
  • connecting you to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP
  • booking a face-to-face appointment
  • providing self-care advice

Contact NHS 111
Telephone: 111


Walk-in centres

A walk-in centre can give you advice and treatment for minor injuries and ailments. You don't need an appointment and anyone can use the service - including those who are not registered with a GP. They are open later in the evenings and at weekends when your usual GP surgery may be closed. 

Find your nearest walk-in centre

Urgent Treatment Centres

You don't need an appointment and you will be seen by a nurse. Waiting times are variable.

Find and contact the Urgent Treatment Centres

Always call 999 or go to A&E if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. . 
Examples of medical emergencies include (but are not limited to):
•    Chest pain
•    Potential stroke
•    Difficulty in breathing
•    Unconsciousness
•    Severe loss of blood
•    Severe burns or scalds
•    Choking 
•    Severe allergic reactions

Waiting Times for our Emergency Department (A&E) can be viewed here