Our emergency services include:
- emergency department (A&E) at St Thomas' Hospital, for serious conditions needing immediate treatment
- urgent care centre at Guy's Hospital, for minor injuries and illnesses needing urgent medical attention
- children’s emergency department at St Thomas' Hospital, for children needing immediate treatment
We have one of the busiest emergency departments (A&E) in the country.
We're rated 'outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission.
Before you attend
Our emergency department (A&E) is very busy. There are other options if you need medical advice but it’s not an emergency.
Please help us by choosing the right service for you.
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. A range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.
- coughs and colds
- minor illnesses
- upset stomach
Make sure that you have:
- cough and cold remedies
- a thermometer
- rehydration mixture
- anti-diarrhoea medicine
- indigestion remedy
You can find information on these and other common conditions on the NHS website.
If you are a Lambeth resident, you can get more information on the South East London Integrated Care System website.
If you are a Southwark resident, you can find more information on the South East London Integrated Care System website.
Pharmacists can give you expert advice on medicines and how they work. They can also help you to decide if you need to see a doctor. You don't need an appointment. Every pharmacy also has a private area for you to talk about your symptoms.
Local pharmacies in Lambeth and Southwark offer advice and medicines for a range of conditions, without appointment. Free emergency contraception is also available at some local pharmacies.
Common complaints which can be treated at home with advice from the pharmacist include:
- skin conditions, such as mild acne and mild eczema
- coughs and colds, including nasal congestion and sore throats
- minor cuts and bruises
- constipation and haemorrhoids (piles)
- hay fever and allergies
- aches and pains, such as headaches, earaches and backaches
- indigestion, diarrhoea and threadworms
- period pain and thrush
- warts and verrucas
- mouth ulcer and cold sores
- athlete's foot
- nappy rash and teething
NHS 111 offers medical help and advice from fully trained advisers.
They're supported by experienced nurses and paramedics.
You should use the NHS 111 service if you:
- need medical help fast, but it's not a 999 emergency
- think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service
- don't know who to call for medical help or you don't have a GP to call
- need health information or reassurance about what to do next
For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP (family doctor) in the usual way.
Visit 111 online for help. If you need to call, you can. Calls to 111 are free from landlines and mobile phones and the service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Across south east London, NHS 111 can issue prescriptions to a pharmacy of your choice.
Your GP provides a range of services by appointment. They'll be able to assess your immediate needs as well as refer you to a specialist service if necessary. Your GP also knows your medical history so is best placed to manage you.
Many surgeries are open longer hours now. If your surgery is closed, call 111. A call to 111 will direct you to the out of hours doctors and care services.
You should see your GP if you have:
- back ache
- ear pain
- high temperature
- being sick
GP extended hours
More information on GP extended hours.
Attend our urgent care centre if you have an urgent, severe problem that is not life threatening.
Emergency departments are only for critical or life-threatening problems.
It's an emergency needing urgent hospital care if there’s:
- loss of consciousness
- serious blood loss
- choking, severe chest pain or breathing difficulty
- serious burns
- strokes and persistent fits
We have produced an animation to find out what happens if you need to come to A&E at St Thomas’ Hospital
NHS website, GP services
NHS website, pharmacy services
Last updated: August 2023