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Choosing The Right Service

Self care

A lot of illnesses can be treated at home with medicines and by getting plenty of rest. Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. It also reduces the likelihood of a long-term condition worsening to the point that professional care becomes a necessity.

This means you don’t have to worry about making an appointment with your GP or visiting your local urgent care over the weekend.

To be prepared to self-care, it’s often useful to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet including:

  • pain relief medication including aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • antihistamines, which can come in cream and tablet form
  • rehydration medicines to restore fluids for when you have fever, diarrhoea or vomiting
  • a first aid kit

Visiting your local pharmacy

Many pharmacies are closed on Bank Holidays so it’s important to collect repeat prescriptions in good time as it may not be possible until after the weekend.

Some local pharmacies will be open for emergency prescriptions but it’s important to check which one will be open. Some medications for self-care can be purchased from local supermarkets.

NHS 111

You can call NHS 111 for all non life-threatening emergencies. As many as one in four patients visiting A&E could have treated themselves at home by speaking to the NHS 111 service.

The 111 service gives you instant advice ensuring you get the appropriate treatment, as quickly and effectively as possible.

The service offers medical advice from trained professionals, experienced nurses and paramedics.

Call NHS 111 if:

  • you’re not sure if you should go to A&E
  • you don’t know who to call
  • you don’t have a GP to call
  • if you want medical advice
  • The service is free to call from both landlines and mobile phones. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

More information about NHS 111 can be found here.

Visiting A&E

For life threatening conditions such as choking, chest pain, blood loss or blacking out, do not hesitate to call 999.

When on the phone, inform the operator that there is a medical emergency and a response vehicle will be sent to your location.

A&E departments across London and the United Kingdom are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Be prepared

Make sure you have enough medicines for when you can't get to your doctor or pharmacist.

Private health care in London

If you're receiving private and NHS care for the same condition, your NHS and private treatment can be supervised by one healthcare team. You cannot choose to mix different parts of the same treatment between NHS and private care.