Where to seek help if you or someone you know should become sick or injured
It can sometimes be difficult to know where to go for help if you are sick or injured. There are several places that help and advice can be found:
The NHS Choices website can provide good information for the care of more minor illnesses – coughs, colds tummy bugs, etc. It can also give you support information after you have seen a doctor or nurse.
This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to access. It is also the way in which you should access GP care outside of surgery opening hours.
Once answered your details will be taken and after answering a series of questions the call handler will advise you on the best place for you seen or will hand your call to a clinical advisor if necessary. You may be advised to call or attend your GP surgery, asked to attend an out of hours centre or an out of hours’ doctor may visit your child. If your call is deemed to be more serious the call handler can send an ambulance or may advise you to attend Accident and emergency.
Accident & Emergency or Minor Injuries Centre
A&E and Minor Injuries should not be used for minor illnesses. If you have had an Accident and have small injuries, are in a lot of pain, or are unable to move limbs it is sensible to be seen there. If you are not certain if it is appropriate you can contact NHS 111 or the GP surgery first for advice. For head injuries, only attend A&E or MIU if there is loss of consciousness (knocked out), have a cut face or head that does not stop bleeding or that may require stitches, are dizzy and/or have vomited or are behaving unusually following the injury.
Your GP Surgery
During working hours for minor health problems it is best to look for advice on the NHS Choices Website or telephone NHS 111. If you then feel that you should see or speak to your GP please telephone the surgery. At times it can be difficult to get an appointment, and if this is the case, you can ask for a doctor to ring you if you think it is urgent and needs resolving that same day. The doctor will ring you and after listening will decide where and when you need to be seen or may provide advice or prescribe medication without needing to see you.
This is for life threatening emergencies and serious accidents and injuries only. If you are not sure if you need an emergency ambulance, ring NHS 111 first. If they feel an ambulance is needed one will be dispatched without delay.