Feeling unwell or injured? You don’t need to come to A&E to be treated. Choosing the right service will help get you seen early, reducing pressure on A&E services, freeing them up to help those who need it most.
Self care for common conditions
""Coughs and colds / diarrhoea / headache / grazes / hangover / minor illnesses / upset stomach
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 simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest. They include coughs and colds, diarrhoea, headache, grazes, hangover, minor illnesses and upset stomach.
Make sure that your medicine cabinet is well stocked with:
Cough and cold remedies
You can find information on these and other common conditions by visiting the NHS website.
If you are a Lambeth resident, you can get more information on Lambeth CCG website.
If you are a Southwark resident, you can find more information on Southwark CCG website.
Speak to a pharmacist
""Diarrhoea / headache / sore throat / painful cough / minor illnesses / upset stomach / skin conditions
Pharmacists are medically trained and can give you expert advice on medicines and how they work. They can also help you to decide whether you'll need to see a doctor. You don't need an appointment and you won't even be asked to make a purchase. Every pharmacy also has a private consultation area for you to talk about your symptoms in private if you prefer.
A number of 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.
Find details of your nearest pharmacy.
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, pains, such as headaches, earaches and backaches
Indigestion, diarrhoea and threadworms
Period pain and thrush
Warts and verrucas, mouth ulcer and cold sores
Nappy rash and teething
Call NHS 111
""NHS 111 offers medical help and advice from fully trained advisers 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
you think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service
you don't know who to call for medical help or you don't have a GP to call
you require 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 assistance. 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.
See your GP
""Back ache / ear pain / high temperature / vomiting
Your GP provides a range of services by appointment and will be able to assess your immediate needs as well as refer you to a specialist service, such as outpatients, if necessary. Your GP also knows your medical history so is best placed to manage you.
Many surgeries are open longer hours now, however, if your surgery is closed, call 111. A call to 111 will direct you to the out of hours doctors and care services.
Access GP extended hours
More information on Access GP extended hours.
Visit Urgent Care Centre
""Wounds / cuts / sprains / strains / suspected broken bones
If you have an urgent and severe but non-life threatening illness or condition then attend the urgent care centre.
Urgent Care Centre at Guy's Hospital
Tabard Annexe, Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT
Tel: 020 3049 8970
Opening hours: 8am-8pm, 7 days a week (last patient at 7pm)
Visit urgent care centre for more information.
999 in an emergency
""Blacking out / bleeding you can't stop / severe chest pain / choking / stroke / suspected broken bones
These are all emergencies which need urgent hospital care. Emergency departments should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation.
St Thomas' Hospital Emergency Department
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
t: 020 7188 7188
Visit St Thomas' Hospital A&E section.
King's College Hospital Emergency Department
London SE5 9RS
t: 020 3299 9000
Visit King's College Hospital A&E section.
Please think before you dial 999.