Where to go if you need medical help over Christmas and New Year
With London in Tier 4, and residents being advised to stay home as much as possible, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell. To help you access the right health service for your needs, we’ve provided information about the services available and what they offer so that you can make the best choice for you and your family.
Using the right health services is not only good for you, but helps the NHS as a whole by making sure resources are used in the right way.
Accessing NHS services
The health and care system is working together to ensure services are available to everyone who needs them during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some people may be feeling worried about seeking help at the moment. Please don’t delay seeking help, especially for urgent medical matters. A range of changes have been made to ensure care – for Covid-19 and non-Covid related matters – is available in the right setting, to protect residents’ health and wellbeing.
If you have a symptom that could be cancer (such as unexplained blood that doesn’t come from an obvious injury, an unexplained lump, weight loss which feels significant to you or an unexplained pain that doesn’t go away), a maternity concern, or a routine appointment, the NHS is here to help you and can see you safely.
A&E is for life-threatening situations such as a heart attack or stroke and for the care of people who show the symptoms of serious illness or who are badly injured. In a life-threatening emergency, always dial 999.
If you need medical advice fast but it’s not life threatening then call NHS 111 and a fully trained adviser will be able to advise and suggest the best option for you.
The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Depending on the situation, the NHS 111 team can:
- connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or even a GP
- arrange face-to-face appointments if they think you need one
- assess if you need an ambulance and send one immediately if necessary
- book time slots at all A&E departments across Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington (north-central London) for those who need them.
If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.
If you or someone you care for feels unwell over the Christmas and New Year period, you can visit one of the following pharmacies for advice on a range of minor illnesses and injuries such as: colds and flu, sexual health and contraception, sickness and diarrhoea, cuts and grazes, and general health advice.
There may be additional pharmacies opening which are not listed. If the pharmacy you would like to visit is not listed here, then you can check their opening hours using the NHS website.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, how you contact your GP practice will be different at the moment. This is to limit face-to-face contact whenever possible and help stop the spread of coronavirus.
If you need to see your GP contact your surgery by telephone or via their website. Please do not visit the surgery unless you have an appointment.
If you are waiting for a check-up, please be assured they will be in touch. Appointments are being delivered face-to-face, online and over the telephone.
If you are asked to visit into the surgery for a face-to-face appointment, please remember to wear a face covering. Measures are in place to keep you safe from infection during your visit to the surgery.
Information on GP services, how to find and register with a local GP and how to book an appointment is available on the NHS website.
Mental health and wellbeing
If you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, or just want to feel happier it’s important to know that support is available, even if services seem busy at the moment because of coronavirus.
NHS urgent mental health helplines are for people of all ages and you can call for:
- 24-hour advice and support – for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for
- help to speak to a mental health professional
- an assessment to help decide on the best course of care
Free listening services are also available offering confidential advice from trained volunteers. You can talk about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how difficult:
- Call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: email@example.com for a reply within 24 hours
- Text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text “YM” if you’re under 19
- If you’re under 19, you can also call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill.
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. For colds and flu it is best to rest, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin.
Patients experiencing dental pain are advised to call a dentist (their voicemail may advise where to get out-of-hours treatment) or call NHS 111 which will direct your call to the appropriate service.
To find the service you need and book appointments online, you can also visit the NHS website. Type in your postcode to find your nearest health services.
Coronavirus and vaccination
For the latest advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), including information about symptoms, self-isolation and testing visit the NHS website.
Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and is now available to priority groups. When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.
We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact us to get an appointment as you will not be able to get one until you are contacted.