Patient Information

Your route to urgent help

A&E departments and 999 responders experience very high demand and are not always required. Many patients can be treated safely and comfortably elsewhere, meaning people who need to be seen urgently for life saving treatment can be seen quicker.

If you are feeling unwell and need urgent care there are a number of options for you to consider. It is important that you visit the right service for your needs.

If you feel unwell or have a minor injury, your local pharmacy can offer advice and some medicines. This can help you treat your condition yourself at home. Pharmacists can also help you see the right person, if you need to see someone else.

If you have a more serious illness, you should visit your GP practice website or NHS 111 online for advice. If you cannot access the internet, call 111 or your GP practice directly.

A 999 call should only be used for life-threatening emergencies or serious injuries.


Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with NHS prescriptions as well as support for minor health concerns. They are able to assist when you need advice and treatment that day, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble or aches, sprains and other pains.

If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. In some cases pharmacists can also help get you emergency medicine.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment. You can find a local pharmacy here.

In some cases if you contact your GP practice with a minor illness that can be assessed and treated more quickly by a local pharmacist, (with your consent) they will send an electronic referral to the community pharmacy of your choice for a same day consultation.