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Can you treat yourself at home? A well-stocked medicine cabinet will help you treat many everyday illnesses at home.

Have you tried your pharmacist or chemist? Pharmacists are qualified to give advice on common complaints, such as coughs, colds, flu, sore throats, aches and pains.

Have you called NHS 111? You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's NOT a life-threatening situation.

Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's NOT a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next


When you call 111, a trained adviser will ask you questions to find out what’s wrong, give you medical advice and direct you to someone who can help you, like an out-of-hour doctor or a community nurse. If the adviser thinks your condition is more serious, they will direct you to hospital or send an ambulance.

Do you need to visit the surgery? Your local GP surgery provides a range of services (see Clinics and Special Services). Remember to tell your doctor if you have tried or are still taking any self-care treatment.

Do you or your family need emergency hospital treatment? If so you should go immediately to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department or call 999 for an emergency ambulance. An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation which may include loss of consciousness, severe chest pain or loss of blood.

Please remember that hospital Emergency Departments are designed to treat accidents and emergencies only. Calling an ambulance will not necessarily ensure you are seen any quicker in the Emergency Department.

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website