Is A&E for me?

The Accident & Emergency Department (A&E) is for patients who require emergency care for life-threatening conditions. We ask that you use this service carefully and appropriately to ensure our staff can best support those who need it most.

Our A&E 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, you should consider using alternative services which you can access across London and closer to home. For non-emergency problems (such as coughs, colds, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea and vomiting, ear aches and sprains) please consider other treatment options such as:

Self treatment    

Using combination of over-the-counter medicine and plenty of rest, minor ailments and injuries can often be treated at home. Please remember to keep a first aid kit and a well-stocked medicine cabinet (always keep medicines out of the reach of children). A basic first aid kit should contain these items.
The NHS website contains information on how to treat a range of common conditions.  

Call 111   

NHS 111 call advisers are fully trained. Using a clinical assessment system which enables them to assess callers’ needs safely and effectively, enables advisors to direct them to the right NHS service. All advice provided is supported by experienced nurses. 

For online health advice and access to a free ‘symptom checker’ mobile app, visit

Visit a pharmacist

If you are suffering from a common health problem that does not require being seen by an emergency department nurse or doctor then visit your local pharmacist. They will be able to provide you with confidential advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them.

All local pharmacies generally open in the evening and at weekends on a rota basis – be sure to check these before visiting. Some pharmacies regularly operate late-night opening too.

For more information about a pharmacist near you visit this website or click here for a list of Boots pharmacies that open until midnight.

Are you feeling under the weather this winter? Find out the symptoms of common winter illnesses and understand your treatment options. Click here to read more about it.

Call your GP

Call your GP surgery if you need medical advice, examinations or a prescription.

To reduce the demand on emergency services and get the treatment you need at a convenient time and place, arrange an appointment with your local GP f you are suffering with an illness or injury that is not going away.

Registering is free and means you can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.

Always contact your regular GP for repeat prescriptions. GP’s can also visit your home outside of normal opening hours in an emergency. If you are in need of this service, call your local surgery and follow the recorded instructions.

To find out more about your GP opening times visit