How to access healthcare services near you
If you are injured or ill the NHS provides a range of services to help you.
- Is A&E right for me?
- NHS 111
You can get better, faster treatment by choosing the NHS service that can best treat your symptoms. This also helps the NHS by reducing the pressure on services like A&E so they are available to help people most in need.
Accident and emergency (A&E) departments are open 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year and are for life threatening emergencies and serious injuries only. Please use the service carefully so it can best support those who need it most – like people with severe chest pains, serious head injuries, loss of consciousness or breathing difficulties.
When you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency, call the NHS free phone number 111. The 111 service operates 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year.
Calls to 111 will be assessed, advice given and, if needed, patients will be directed to the most appropriate local health services. Calls to 111 are free wherever you call from.
Call 111 if:
- you need an NHS urgent care service
- you don’t know who to call for medical help
- you need information about a health issue.
If it is an emergency and someone needs help to save their life, call 999.
Local urgent care centres, minor injury units and walk-in centres provide fast medical treatment and advice for patients with injuries which are urgent but do not need a visit to A&E. They can also be used when you can’t wait for an appointment with your GP.
These centres treat injuries and illnesses such as cuts, sprains and strains, broken bones, minor burns and scalds, minor head and eye injuries, bites and stings. You don’t need to book an appointment – just turn up and you will be seen promptly by a doctor or nurse. To find your nearest urgent treatment centre, minor injury unit or walk-in centre, go to www.nhs.uk.
If you are in east Kent, the WaitLess app combines current waiting times at all urgent care centres – drawn from the official NHS system – with up-to-the-minute travel information, helping you to decide which urgent care centre to head to for faster treatment for minor injuries.
Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away, including persistent vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache or back ache. Registering is free and means you can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.
For help finding your nearest GP, use the online search on www.nhs.uk or phone 0300 311 22 33.
Additional appointments are available in the evening and at weekends. To book one of these appointments you should contact your normal GP practice. However, these appointments will not necessarily be at your usual GP practice, but the health professionals treating you will be able to see your full medical record, with your consent.
Your local pharmacist can give you friendly, expert advice about over-the-counter medicines that can help with lots of common conditions such as diarrhoea, a runny nose, a painful cough or a headache - without the need for an appointment.
As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists provide a range of services related to specific health issues and can advise on minor ailments such as colds, skin conditions and allergies.
Other services include emergency contraception and continence supplies. For help finding your nearest pharmacist, go to www.nhs.uk or phone 0300 311 22 33.
You should be registered with a dental practice and have regular check-ups. Your dentist can also help with toothache, gum problems, wisdom teeth, bleeding from the gums and most other mouth related health problems. Go to www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist to find your nearest practice.
If you need urgent treatment, please contact your usual dental practice, as they may be able to see you or direct you to an urgent dental care service. You can also phone NHS 111 which can put you in touch with an urgent dental service. Do not contact a GP, as they will not be able to offer urgent or emergency dental care.