Our goal is to help you to find the right healthcare support you need when you are sick, hurt, or managing a long term health problem. It is important to find the best healthcare provider to suit your needs to help you get better sooner and to help all other NHS services run smoothly.
Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can also help you with minor health concerns. They can also help you decide whether you need to speak to your GP surgery. Some minor health concerns may include aches and pains, sore throats, coughs, colds, flu, earaches, cystitis/urine infections and rashes. Pharmacies can also help with other issues such as:
Disposing of old medicines
To find out more click the links below:
How can an Optician help?
Opticians (Optometrists) have the same specialist equipment as specialist eye Doctors (Hospital Ophthalmologists) and may be able to treat and manage your eye problem without a need for you to go anywhere else.
They can also refer you to a Hospital Eye Clinic if necessary.
To make an emergency appointment, telephone your Optician/Optometrist or call 111 to speak to an Adviser when your local Optician is not available out of hours.
How often should I have an eye test?
Our eyes rarely hurt when something is wrong with them, so having regular eye tests is important to help detect potentially harmful conditions.
The NHS recommends that you should get your eyes tested every two years (more often if advised by your Ophthalmic Practitioner or Optometrist).
An NHS sight (eye) test is free of charge if you are in one of the eligible groups and your sight test is considered clinically necessary. If the Ophthalmic Practitioner can’t see a clinical need then you’ll have to pay for the test
Severe toothache, infection or injury within your mouth or to your teeth that needs urgent attention?
You should contact your Dental Practice for an appointment. Even if your Practice is closed, you will hear a message which provides details of their out of hours arrangements for providing advice and treatment.
Not registered with a Dentist?
In order to receive the full range of dental treatment and care under the NHS you must be registered with a Dentist.
When you register with a Dentist you’ll be registered for life, unless you or your Dentist request your registration to be withdrawn.
If you attend another Dentist for treatment and don’t tell them you’re registered elsewhere, your registration will automatically transfer to your new Dentist.
Not all Dentists will take on new NHS patients so it’s important to ask them if they’re able to take you on as an NHS patient during your first contact with them.
Worried about persistent mouth, tooth or gum problems?
Arrange an appointment with your Dentist to get a dental check-up.
Accident & Emergency
If you dial 999 for an Ambulance and you have to be taken to Hospital, then the Ambulance Crew will take you to the most appropriate A&E – this may not be the closest.
When to go to A&E
An A&E Department (also known as Emergency Department or Casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:
loss of consciousness
acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
severe allergic reactions
severe burns or scalds
major trauma such as a road traffic accident
Less severe injuries can be treated in Urgent Care Centres or Minor Injuries Units. A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment.
If your GP is closed you can go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111, which will direct you to the best local service.
Alternatively, you can visit an NHS Urgent Treatment or Walk-In Centre, which will also treat minor illnesses without an appointment.
What happens at A&E?
A&E Departments offer access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A&E staff include Paramedics, A&E Nurses, Diagnostic Radiographers, A&E Reception Staff, Porters, Healthcare Assistants and Emergency Medicine Doctors. These medical staff are all highly trained in all aspects of emergency medicine.
If you arrive by Ambulance, the Ambulance Crew will provide the relevant details to Reception and hand you over to the Clinical staff. If you are seriously ill, the staff will already know because the Ambulance Crew will have alerted them on the way to the Hospital.
If you’re not in a life-threatening or serious condition, you will be prioritised by the A&E Hospital Team along with other patients waiting to be seen – arriving by Ambulance does not necessarily mean you will be seen sooner than if you had walked in to A&E.
If you go to A&E by yourself, you’ll need to register when you first arrive. You’ll be asked a few questions such as your name and address, and asked why you are visiting A&E. If you have been to the Hospital before, the Reception Staff will also have access to your health records.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll be asked to wait until you are called for your assessment.
Some Hospitals have a separate Children’s A&E Department where medical staff are specially trained to deal with children’s health issues. You may be asked to go straight to the children’s area where your child can be registered and assessed.
If you need special assistance because of a physical or mental disability then you should let Hospital staff know right away. The Hospital may be able to call a Learning Disabilities Liaison, a member of their Liaison Psychiatry Team, or provide any other assistance you or your carer may need.
- Assessment – Triage
Once you have registered you’ll generally be preassessed by a Nurse or Doctor before further action is taken. This is called Triage. The process is carried out on all patients attending A&E. Triage ensures people with the most serious conditions are seen first.
- Treatment, transfer or discharge
What happens next depends on the results of your assessment. Sometimes further tests need to be arranged before a course of action can be decided.
If the Nurse or Doctor feels your situation is not a serious accident or emergency, you may be sent to a nearby Urgent Care Centre, Minor Injuries Unit or referred to a GP onsite. This will reduce the waiting queue in A&E and at the same time allows you (the patient with the lesser injury) to be treated quickly as well.
The waiting time target for patients in A&E is currently set to 4 hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge. However, not all hospitals have associated Urgent Care Centres, which means people with minor injuries may have a longer wait until they are seen.
In some cases you may be sent home and asked to arrange for a GP referral or you may be given a prescription and sent home. Either way, the Hospital will inform your GP that you have been to A&E.
If your situation is more complicated, you may be seen by an A&E Doctor or referred to a Specialist Unit. For example, this could happen for eye problems, strokes or emergency gynaecology.
NHS Out Of Hours Services
Outside normal Surgery Hours you can still phone your GP Practice, but you’ll usually be directed to an Out-of-Hours Service.
The out-of-hours period is from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays and all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays.
ou can also go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you need medical help now, but it’s not an emergency.
GPs can choose whether to provide 24-hour care for their patients or to transfer responsibility for out-of-hours services to NHS England, who’s responsible for providing a high-quality service for the local population.
However, this can mean different areas can have slightly different services.
These can provide treatment for minor injuries or illnesses, such as cuts, bruises and rashes.
They have proved to be a successful complementary service to traditional GP and A&E services.
Some urgent care services offer access to Doctors, as well as Nurses however, they are not designed for treating long-term conditions or immediately life-threatening problems.
You don’t need to be registered and you don’t need an appointment. Any member of the public can simply walk in to be seen, regardless of where they’re registered. Some offer prebooked appointments.
Types of out-of-hours care
Out-of-hours cover may include some or all of these services:
- GPs working in A&E Departments or Urgent Care Centres, including Minor Injury Units or Walk-in Centres
- Teams of Healthcare Professionals working in Primary Care Centres, A&E Departments, Minor Injury Units, Urgent Care Centres or NHS Walk-in Centres
- Healthcare Professionals (other than Doctors) making home visits after a detailed clinical assessment
- Ambulance services moving patients to places where they can be seen by a Doctor or Nurse to reduce the need for home visits