Health and medical advice
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.
That's why NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has produced a flyer, with helpful information about local services, including late at night and at weekends.
The NHS is also developing Health Help Now, an app which will enable users to locate the best treatment for their problem, based on symptoms, location, and time of day. It will be available to residents across Kent and Medway once launched in December.
A&E is fully prepared for patients with life-threatening and serious illness and injuries but it should not be the first port of call for everyone who is feeling unwell or needs treatment for a minor injury. The flyer will help people to find the right care when they need medical help fast but it is not a life-threatening emergency. This will keep A&E free for those who really need it.
Who can help?
Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who offer free advice on health issues, including common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.
GPs provide expert medical care for everyone from babies to older people. 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 you need to see the doctor the same day, tell the receptionist and they will either give you an appointment or arrange for a doctor to ring you back that day.
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.
NHS 111 is a new service that has been introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services. It provides one, easy-to-remember number that is free to call from landlines or mobiles.
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
What happens when you call NHS 111?
When you call 111, a trained advisor 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-hours doctor or a community nurse.
If the advisor thinks your condition is more serious, they will direct you to hospital or send an ambulance.
If you do not speak English, tell the advisor what language you want to speak and they will get you an interpreter. You can call NHS 111 any time of the day or night, 365 days a year.
NHS 111 can be used by people with a hearing impairment or communication difficulties, via a "Text Phone" by calling 18001 111.
Leaflets explaining how NHS 111 works are available in a number of different languages and in easy read format at NHS-England
There are now only three numbers to call if you need NHS care urgently: 999 for life-threatening emergencies, your GP surgery and 111.
Download the Health Help Now app
The Health Help Now web app can be found online at Health-Help-Now and is free to everyone who lives and works in Kent and Medway. It functions like a mobile phone app and helps people check their symptoms and find the best place for treatment – showing which services near them are open. It will help people to know when to go to A&E, and when not to.
Please use the following links for general information on Health and Medical Advice: