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If you, or a loved one feels unwell or needs advice, using the right service can prevent an illness from getting worse and enable you to feel better sooner.

Speak to a pharmacist

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.

Call NHS 111

If you think that you may need to see a doctor in the evening, over the weekend or on a bank holiday for something which you feel cannot wait, call 111.

Trained call handlers will assess your symptoms and put you directly in touch with those who can help.

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

Your GP

GPs (family doctors) provide a range of services including medical advice, examinations, prescriptions and care for long term conditions, chronic pain and persistent symptoms.

A call to 111 will direct you to the Out of Hours doctors and care services.


The ASK NHS GP App is available to all patients in Lewisham. It's free to download and helps you to take more control of your health, giving you access to trusted advice 24/7. It features an easy to use, interactive symptom checker, which asks a series of questions to assess symptoms in a clinically safe way. It then recommends the most appropriate onward care which includes self-care advice via the NHS website, an appointment with a GP or healthcare professional, a GP call back or directions to emergency care.  

GP Extended Access

If you are unable to get an appointment at your GP at a time that's convenient for you, ask for the GP Extended Access (GPEA) Service. Appointments are available from 8am–8pm, 7 days a week, including bank holidays. All appointments must be booked in advance at your GP practice.

999 in an emergency

Please think before you dial 999. The ambulance service is for emergencies and life-threatening situations only. If ambulance crews are called out to those suffering minor illnesses, they cannot get to those who really need their help.

Find health advice online at  – an early enquiry can help prevent a crisis later. Choosing the right service helps to reduce the pressure on emergency services and ensure that they are available for those who really need them.