Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with NHS prescriptions as well as support for minor health concerns. They are able to assist when you need advice and treatment that day, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble or aches, sprains and other pains.
If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. In some cases pharmacists can also help get you emergency medicine.
Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment. Over the Christmas period some will be open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. You can find a local pharmacy, including ones open over Christmas. If you need an emergency prescription over Christmas holidays you can contact NHS 111.
In some cases if you contact your GP practice with a minor illness that can be assessed and treated more quickly by a local pharmacist, (with your consent) they will send an electronic referral to the community pharmacy of your choice for a same day consultation.
Your GP surgery should usually be the first place you contact if you have particular concern about your health. You can book an appointment on their website or by phoning them. They can also offer appointments out of hours and on weekends and bank holidays.
Your GP practice can help you with prescriptions or consultations with the right medical professional like a GP, nurse or physiotherapist. Sometimes you won’t even need to leave home.
Antibiotics do not work on winter viruses like colds and flu so do not ask for them.
GP appointments are available seven days a week in the evening, on weekends and on bank holidays. Call your practice, or if your practice is closed, call NHS 111 to book.
If you live in Barking and Dagenham or Havering you can also get help with minor injuries and illnesses at our community Urgent Treatment Centres at Barking Community Hospital and Harold Wood Polyclinic. These are open 8am-9pm, seven days a week. You can call NHS 111 to book an appointment or walk in and wait to be seen. You do not need to be registered with a GP.
If you have an urgent but not life-threatening medical need, make sure you visit NHS 111 online first rather than going straight to A&E. NHS 111 online will help you right away and if needed, a healthcare professional will call you.
NHS 111 online makes it easier for you to get the treatment you need in the right place at the right time. The service can also direct people to urgent treatment centres (or walk-in centres), GPs, pharmacies, emergency dental services or other more appropriate local services.
NHS 111 online can also tell you where to get help for your symptoms, how to find general health information and advice, where to get emergency supplies of your prescribed medicines and how to get a repeat prescription.
If you cannot use the internet, call 111. NHS 111 will help you right away and make sure you speak to a healthcare professional or book you an appointment at an urgent treatment centre, emergency dental service, or GP. They can even book you an appointment at A&E if necessary.
You should only call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life could be at risk. You should call immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. You should also call 999 if someone has had a major trauma, such as a road traffic accident or has sustained a serious head injury.
If you or someone you know need urgent help for your, or their, mental health call a local crisis line as soon as possible. All numbers are free and available 24/7 for adults and children and young people.
If you aren’t sure which number to call your can enter your postcode on this NHS site and it will tell you.