Urgent Care

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If you have an illness that is not life threatening, contact your GP surgery first if possible. You can still call your GP outside normal surgery hours, but you will usually be directed to an out-of-hours service. The out-of-hours period is 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.

You can also call NHS 111, which can give you advice or direct you to the best local service to treat your injury.  

If your injury is not serious, you can get help from a minor injuries unit or urgent care centre, rather than going to an A&E department. This will allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait.

There are around 7 million attendances at type 3 A&E services (walk-in centres, urgent care centres and minor injuries units) in England. Minor injuries units and urgent care centres are usually led by nurses, and an appointment is not necessary.

Some minor injuries units, urgent care centres and walk-in centres do not have facilities to treat young children. This depends on the capacity, resources or skill levels available at the departments. Contact your local minor injuries uniturgent care centre or walk-in centre in advance if you're not sure whether you or your child can be treated there. 

To view the list of illness that can be treated at an urgent care centre please visit NHS Choices here

NHS England has produced a new animated video highlighting a patient experience of NHS emergency and follow-up care, and setting out some of the measures in the Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View which aim to improve patient care. The video, “Syed and Ada’s Emergency Care Story”, is available to view below.