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Keep healthy this winter

Patients and visitors

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Winter is always a busy time for the NHS, and this year is no different. Accident and Emergency Departments aren’t always the best place to go if you’re unwell, so we’re asking patients to help us by choosing the right service for their needs.

Watch this video to find out what happens if you need to come to A&E.

  • Coming to A&E at St Thomas' – video transcript

    This video is an animation with no spoken audio. This is a transcript of the words on the screen:


    Tell the nurse why you've come to A&E

    If it's not an emergency

    You may be better treated elsewhere

    Self care, NHS Direct, Pharmacy, GP or Dentist or the Urgent Care Centre

    In A&E

    Take a ticket

    Wait for your ticket number to be called

    Go to reception

    The receptionist will ask some questions

    and look up your health records

    Take a seat

    Wait for your name to be called

    A nurse will do some tests

    Wait to see a doctor

    Before you go home

    Tell us what you think

    Would you recommend us to your friends and family?

    Help us to keep improving


NHS Direct has been replaced by NHS 111 since this video was made.

Did you know that a trip to A&E may not be necessary?

With many conditions people can be more appropriately treated elsewhere – as a result patients may wait in A&E when it would be easier and more convenient to see a local GP, a local pharmacy or get an appointment with your GP.

call-111You can call 111 when you need medical help fast, but it isn’t a 999 emergency.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can provide patient information and if necessary refer people to emergency services. Across South East London, NHS 111 can issue prescriptions to a pharmacy of your choice and book a face to face appointment if you need one. You can either phone NHS 111 or go to 111 online for assistance.

If you have been suffering from a medical problem for more than 48 hours, or have a long standing illness or health problem, call your GP surgery to make an appointment to see your usual doctor or call NHS 111.

Need more advice or treatment for minor ailments?

Visit your local pharmacy when you have a common health problem that does not need you to be seen by a doctor such as runny nose, painful cough and headache. They can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you can take to treat them. Find a pharmacy near you.

Not sure where to go with your injury or illness?

If you have a minor injury or illness, you may find it easier to go to the Urgent Care Centre at Guy's Hospital. It is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

If it is a life threatening or very serious illness call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Useful websites

For more information about how to keep healthy this winter, please visit the NHS website.


Find out more about what to do if you have flu-like symptoms.


Norovirus sometimes called 'winter vomiting disease' causes diarrhoea and vomiting and is highly contagious. Find out about the symptoms of norovirus and how to prevent the infection spreading.

In December 2016, we treated 14,018 patients in the Emergency Department (A&E) at St Thomas’ Hospital, of whom 3,214 were assessed as serious enough to require admission via A&E.

Dr Katherine Henderson, Clinical Lead for A&E at Guy’s and St Thomas’