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Where can I go to get help for my health out of hours?

7th January 2019

Advice and Information Healthwatch England

Health issues unfortunately don’t leave us alone at the weekend and people are often in need of medical assistance out of hours. Using NHS guidelines, we have provided some advice and information on where you can go for help when your GP is closed.
A female receptionist at a surgery on the phone with a male patient filling in his details.

If you need support for your health outside of the standard opening hours of your local GP, there are places that you can go for support.

Where you can go to get help out of hours

The NHS pledges to provide services at a time that’s convenient for you. They have produced guidance on how best to access services out of hours that can be found in full online.

  • Phone NHS 111
    This service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is a service that provides medical advice as well as the details of the services closest to you that help you deal with your need following a medical assessment.
  • Visit your local pharmacy
    Your pharmacist will be able to help you with a number of issues. Take a look at four ways that your local pharmacist can help you. Find their opening hours and check opening times using the NHS pharmacy service search.
  • Visit your nearest NHS walk in centre
    If you need treatment for minor injuries or illnesses such as cuts, bruises and rashes you can visit your nearest NHS walk-in centreurgent care centre or minor injuries unit. These are not suitable for treating long term conditions. To be seen at one of these services you do not need an appointment, or to be registered. You may be referred to one of these services by NHS 111, or you can just walk in.

When to visit an urgent care centre

Take a look at the NHS guidance on when to visit an urgent care centre (walk in centre) to find out if this is the right service for your health needs.

Find out more

Should I go to A&E?

Accident and Emergency departments are for serious or life-threatening emergencies and should not be used as an alternative to a GP appointment. You should go to your nearest A&E if you require urgent medical attention.

For example if you’re experiencing:

  • loss of consciousness
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • fits that are not stopping
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma

Not all hospitals have an A&E department. Use the A&E service search to find your nearest A&E department or read the guidance in full from the NHS to find out more about when to go to A&E.

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