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Help & Advice

Choose Well

Feeling unwell? Choose well to get the right care for you


Each winter the National Health Service (NHS) comes under increased pressure. More people fall ill or are injured than at other times of the year so the services provided by the NHS are needed more than ever.

Emergency services should be used only in very serious or life-threatening situations. Many patients attending the hospital accident and emergency department (A&E) could be treated more appropriately and quickly by their own GP, local pharmacist or even by themselves with basic first aid.

The 'Choose Well Guide' below will help you decide if you need medical attention and what to do when you get sick. It explains what each NHS service does and when it should be used.

Choosing well means you will get the most appropriate treatment. It also allows busy NHS services to help the people who need them most.

Remember, if you need any extra advice contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

Choose Well Guide

Life threatening and severe illness and injury

For example:

Choking
Chest pain
Blacking out
Heavy blood loss
Serious injury
Fits

Go to the nearest hospital accident and emergency department (A&E) or call 999.

Children who appear very unwell will need urgent treatment for a serious illness or injury should be taken to A&E.

Non-urgent illness or minor injury

For example:

Cuts
Strains
Vomiting
Ear ache
Back ache

Go to a Walk-in Centre or telephone your GP surgery.

When your GP practice is closed you can still see a doctor if you need to. Just telephone your practice and you will be directed to the out-of-hours service for appropriate treatment.

Minor ailment

For example:

Diarrhoea
Runny nose
Painful cough
Headache

Go to your local pharmacist or ask someone to go for you.

Your local pharmacist can give you advice on common ailments and the medicines you need to treat them. Many pharmacies are open on Sundays and some late into the evening. Some pharmacists can also provide Hormonal Emergency Contraception.

In need of advice

Unwell?
Unsure?
Confused?
Need help?

Contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

NHS Direct offers confidential health advice and information 24 hours a day. Contact NHS Direct if you are ill and have any questions about your health. The service can also help you to make the right healthcare choice and find health services in your local area.

Very minor illnesses and injuries

For example:

Grazes
Sore throat
Cough
Hangover

Self-care is the best choice for treating very minor illnesses and injuries. It is good to be prepared by keeping a stock of essential medicines including painkillers, anti-diarrhoea medicine, oral rehydration mixture and indigestion remedy, as well as plasters, antiseptic cream and a thermometer.

Remember, if you need any extra advice contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.