Don't just go to A&E.
Injured or unwell?
Don't just go to A&E if it's not a serious emergency. Alternative services are available, download the Lewisham CCG 'Don't just go to A&E' leaflet outlining local health services or visit www.nhs.uk where you can enter your postcode and hit the 'Find service' button.
Find the right service to treat you – it may be quicker, and even closer to your home. Using the right service means you don't spend hours waiting in A&E, and treatment can be given quicker to those really in need of urgent care.
Coughs and colds / Grazes / Hangover
You can treat these at home - in fact, that's the best place 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 simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest - THINK FIRST, DON'T GO TO A&E.
Make sure that your medicine cabinet is well stocked with:
- A thermometer
- Aspirin (not for under 16yrs)
- Rehydration mixture
- Anti-diarrhoea medicine
- Indigestion remedy
Diarrhoea / Headache / Sore throat / Painful cough / Runny nose / Minor illnesses / Upset stomach / Skin conditions
Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional who can provide advice and treatment for these common conditions as well as dispensing prescriptions. Free emergency contraception is available at some local pharmacies, and as part of the Lewisham Pharmacy First Scheme your pharmacist can supply medication for certain conditions avoiding the need for a GP appointment.
Ask your GP or pharmacist if you are able to use this scheme.
Back ache / Ear pain / High temperature / Vomiting
These are some of the things your GP can help you with. Your GP is your first port of call for on-going illnesses or injuries.
Your GP provides a range of services by appointment and will be able to assess your immediate needs as well as refer you into a specialist service, such as outpatients, if necessary. They also know your medical history so are best placed to manage you.
GP services are available 24/7. Many surgeries open longer hours now: however if your surgery is closed call the South East London Doctors on Call (SELDOC) service on 020 8693 9066. This out of hours service is run by local GPs and they will provide you with an phone consultation or ask you to attend one of their clinics for an out of hours appointment.
Urgent Care Centre
Severe cuts / Severe burns / Sprains / Strains / Suspected breaks
If you have an urgent but non-life-threatening illness or condition, attend the Urgent Care Centre. It is in the same location as the A&E department at Lewisham Hospital, on arrival you will be treated by the appropriate department depending on your clinical need.
Blacking out / Bleeding you can't stop / Severe chest pain / Choking / Loss of consciousness / Stroke
These are all emergencies and you need urgent hospital care. If someone is too ill, for example if they have collapsed or can’t breathe, dial 999 for an ambulance.
Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and 999 should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation. A&E departments provide immediate emergency care for people with very serious or life-threatening illness.
At A&E the most seriously ill patients will be seen before those with less urgent care conditions. This means that some people have to wait for several hours or they may be signposted to their GP, pharmacist or another health care service that will be able to assist.
Dial 999 or go immediately to your nearest A&E department.