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Help the NHS to help you

There is no need to go to Accident & Emergency for most illnesses and injuries and most people know that.

But sometimes people still end up there because they are not sure what else to do.

Dr Mark Whistler, Urgent Care Lead for NHS West Kent CCG said: “Our hospitals are fully prepared for patients with life-threatening and serious illness and injuries but they should not be the first port of call for everyone who is feeling unwell or needs treatment for a minor injury."

Who can help?

Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who offer free advice on health issues, including common complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.

GPs provide expert medical care for everyone from babies to those nearing the end of their lives.  Phone your GP practice when you need to see a doctor urgently.

Dr Whistler said: “Sometimes, patients, especially older people, put off contacting their practice because they don’t want to bother the doctor – but doing this can risk your health. If it is urgent, tell the receptionist and the practice will try to fit you in that day. Many surgeries also offer a callback service for patients who need to speak to a doctor urgently.”

Minor Injuries Units are for suspected broken arms and lower legs, cuts, sprains and minor burns. Most are open 12-hours a day, seven days a week.

The 24-hour helpline, NHS 111, is free to call from landlines and mobiles and will help you find the right service. It can also put you in contact with a doctor when your GP practice is closed overnight and at weekends. Just dial 111.

Further help and advice can be found below: