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The NHS comes under pressure all year round, especially A&E departments. We want all patients who go to A&E with serious illnesses or injuries to be seen and treated as quickly as possible. With your help we can achieve this. Think. Do you really need to go to A&E?

When to use Self Care

You can take care of those niggling pains, or an upset tummy, without having to queue or risk passing your illnesses on to others. Keeping your cupboards at home stocked with the basics, such as paracetamol, cough and cold remedies and a nit comb for your children means you can treat yourself and your family all year round.

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When to visit a Pharmacy

A quick trip to the local pharmacy is usually enough to get the treatment needed to for most minor illnesses. You may not know it but community pharmacists are qualified to offer expert advice there and then, evening or weekends (even in a private consultation room if needed!). Don’t worry – if they think you need to be seen somewhere else they will tell you. So why risk passing your illness on to others or pick up unwanted bugs that can lead to illness by waiting at A&E?

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When to see your GP

Your GP is your best bet with all complex and on-going conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, or a heart condition, as well as any urgent health problems. For those with kids, many GP surgeries will see children the same day for urgent appointments.

Did you know GPs are also available out of hours when your surgery is closed? If you require a GP outside of normal opening hours, please call the GP out-of-hours service NHS 111.

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When to call NHS 111

NHS 111 makes it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services. It provides one, easy-to-remember number that is free to call from landlines or mobiles.

NHS 111 is staffed by a team of fully trained advisors, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions to assess your symptoms, provide healthcare advice and/or direct you to a local health service that can help you best.

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When to go to A&E

Accident and Emergency is specifically to treat people with serious and life threatening conditions only and the doctors and nurses there are specially trained to do this important job. By carefully considering the best place for your injury or illness, you will assist the doctors and nurses in A&E to concentrate on treating those who really need to be there.

Read our A&E Myth Buster

Services Near You

Using the widget below you can search the NHS Choices directory to find local services near to you.