The NHS is facing incredible pressures, and this can make it difficult to access care when you need it. One of the most important things that you can do to help is to use the right NHS service for your needs.
When to go to A&E
A&E (Accident and Emergency) is the place to go if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency. This includes conditions such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe bleeding
- Severe burns
- Head injuries
If you are experiencing any of these conditions, you should call 999 or go to A&E immediately. These are the only services that can provide the urgent medical attention that you need.
Other NHS services
In addition to A&E, there are a number of other NHS services that can provide care for minor injuries and illnesses. These include:
- Urgent care centres
- Walk-in clinics
- Your GP surgery
Urgent care centres and walk-in clinics are open during regular hours and can provide care for a variety of minor injuries and illnesses. Your GP surgery is usually open during the day and can provide care for a range of conditions, including chronic conditions. Pharmacies can provide advice and treatment for minor illnesses, such as colds and flu.
How to choose the right NHS service
If you are not sure which NHS service to use, you can always call NHS 111. This is a free 24/7 telephone service that can help you to determine which service is right for you.
When choosing the right NHS service, it is important to consider the severity of your condition, the urgency of your condition, and your personal circumstances.
- Severity of your condition: If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you should call 999 or go to A&E immediately.
- Urgency of your condition: If you need care right away, you should go to A&E or an urgent care centre. If you can wait a few hours, you may be able to see a doctor at your GP surgery or at a walk-in clinic.
- Personal circumstances: If you have a chronic condition, you may have a regular GP who can provide care for you. If you are not registered with a GP, you can still see a doctor at an urgent care centre or walk-in clinic.
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that you get the care that you need when you need it. You can also help to free up space in A&E for those who need it most.