Where to go when you feel unwell
When you feel unwell the standard reaction is to call your doctor’s surgery and book an appointment. However, there may be other services you can turn to first that will not only be able to help you but also ease the workloads of your local GP.
Local pharmacists can provide advice on minor health complaints, such as allergies, colds, eye infections, aches, pains, skin conditions, stomach problems, and more. They can also help you better understand both prescription and over-the-counter medicines and, in cases where they are part of the NHS service Pharmacy First, provide you with free medicines without the need to see a doctor.
Call the NHS
NHS 111 is an excellent, free, national telephone service which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You will be connected to a local hub where highly trained advisors will listen to your call and ask questions about your symptoms to help them identify what kind of assistance you may require. Once this consultation is complete you may be advised to rest at home, book an appointment with your GP, book you in with your local minor injuries’ unit, or recommend you visit A&E. If your needs are serious, they will connect you with the ambulance service.
Your General Practitioner (GP) is still a valuable part of health care, as they can give you advice, prescribe medicines, or refer you on to specialist services for further tests, diagnoses, or treatments. Some doctor’s surgeries may ask you to complete a health assessment to help manage patient numbers, as you may be better seeing another health professional for your needs.
The NHS manages a number services, such as walk-in centres, urgent care centres, and minor injuries units, which can provide expert treatments which are more appropriate then visiting your GP. These centres are usually open seven days a week, based in town centres or at local hospitals, and are led by trained staff.
It can seem a little confusing and overwhelming with care and treatment as the emphasis is on reducing the workloads at doctor’s surgeries and A&E departments, however if you think you are in need of immediate, life-threatening injuries or illnesses, then call 999 or visit your local A&E department as soon as possible.