Do you really need A&E?

Stay well this winter

If you are injured or ill, the NHS provides a range of services to help you get well.

You can get better, faster treatment by choosing the NHS service that can best treat your symptoms. This also helps the NHS by reducing the pressure on services like A&E so that they can help those people in most need. Visit the Stay Well This Winter pages for information on managing winter illnesses, and staying healthy during the winter months.

Winter Vomiting Bug (Norovirus)

Help us to keep the winter vomiting bug at bay. Please don’t visit hospital if you’re feeling unwell with symptoms unless it’s absolutely necessary. Help us keep our patients and staff protected. Watch our ED Consultant Andy Lockey explain the importance of staying away if you have symptoms.

Is A&E right for me?

The emergency department is for patients requiring emergency care for serious and life-threatening conditions. Please use the service carefully so it can best support those who need it most.

Our emergency department may not be the most appropriate place for you to come to seek medical advice and help. If your condition is not an emergency there are alternative services you can access:


A lot of common illnesses can be treated at home by using over-the-counter medicine and getting plenty of rest. It is worth keeping paracetamol or aspirin, anti-diarrhoea medicine, rehydration mixture, indigestion remedy, plasters and a thermometer in your medicine cabinet. Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. For more information about looking after yourself visit


Your local pharmacist can give you friendly, expert advice about over-the-counter medicines that can help with lots of common conditions such as diarrhoea, a runny nose, a painful cough or a headache, without the need for an appointment. As well as dispensing prescriptions, pharmacists provide a range of services related to specific health issues and can advise on minor ailments such as colds, skin conditions and allergies. Other services include emergency contraception and incontinence supplies. For help finding your nearest pharmacist, use the online search on or call 0300 311 22 33.


Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away, including persistent vomiting, ear pain, stomach ache or back ache. Get the treatment you need at a convenient time and place and reduce the demand on our emergency services. Registering is free and means you can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions. For help finding your nearest GP, use the online search on or call 0300 311 22 33. 

NHS 111

When you need medical help fast but it is not an emergency, call the NHS free phone number 111. The 111 service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls to 111 will be assessed, advice given and, if needed, patients will be directed to the most appropriate local health services. Calls to 111 are free wherever you call from. Call 111 if:

  • You need an NHS urgent care service
  • You don’t know who to call for medical help
  • You need information about a health issue

If it is an emergency and someone needs help to save their life, call 999.

A&E or 999

A&E departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to treat people with serious and life threatening emergencies.