Choose the right NHS

service first time



When to use a pharmacy

For minor ailments and non-urgent or persistent problems

The Pharmacy First service gives you the option of visiting your local pharmacist for self-care advice for common health conditions such as coughs, colds or earache. The NHS Pharmacy First scheme encourages patients to self-care following advice from their pharmacist. Patients will only be recommended or provided with medication if absolute necessary.

The service can reduce the need for you to make an appointment with your local GP, use an out of hours NHS service or visit A&E. This means when you have a common condition that can be treated with self-care or over the counter medication Pharmacy First is an option.

Many pharmacies across Leeds are open until late and at weekends, which is useful if you start to feel unwell with one of the minor ailments included in Pharmacy First, and you don’t need an appointment to access the service.

Visit your local pharmacy for

Cough | Cold | Earache | Sore throat | Threadworms | Teething

Athletes foot | Thrush | Hayfever | Fever | Blocked nose | Sprain or strain | Head lice

When to go to your GP Surgery

For illnesses and injuries that wont go away

If you have a long term illness or a health matter that is not suitable for Pharmacy First, does not require a fast response, and is not serious or life threatening, you should visit one of our GP Practice sites. There are a number of options available for you depending on the nature of your health matter.  You can call on the day for an urgent health problem, book in advance for routine matters or you can make an appointment with one of our specialist nurses if you have a long term condition.  Visit our services page for a full list of services available.

When to call NHS 111

For illnesses and injuries that need treating fast

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Call 111 if:

you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency

you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service

you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call

you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

When to visit the minor injuries unit

For non-life threatening injuries

If your injury is not serious, you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU), rather than going to an A&E department. This will allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait.

Minor injuries units and urgent care centres can treat:

Sprains and strains

Broken bones

Wound infections

Minor burns and scalds
Minor head injuries

Insect and animal bites

Minor eye injuries

Injuries to the back, shoulder and chest

Minor injuries units CANNOT treat:

Chest pain and breathing difficulties
Major injuries
Stomach pains
Gynaecological problems

Pregnancy problems
Allergic reactions
Alcohol related problems
Mental health problems

When to visit A&E department

For illnesses and injuries that are serious or life threatening

An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:

Loss of consciousness

Acute confused state and fits that are not stopping

Persistent, severe chest pain

Breathing difficulties

Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped

Severe allergic reactions

Severe burns or scalds

Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units (MIUs). An A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP practice is closed you can call NHS 111, which will direct you to the best local service to treat your injury. Alternatively, you can visit an NHS walk-in centre (WIC), which will also treat minor illnesses without an appointment

If you arrive by ambulance, the ambulance crew will report to the hospital on arrival. If you are seriously ill, the staff will already know because the ambulance crew will have alerted them en route. If you’re not in a life-threatening or serious condition, you will be prioritised by the A&E hospital team along with other patients waiting to be seen – arriving by ambulance does not necessarily mean you will be seen sooner than if you had walked in to A&E.

If you go to A&E by yourself, you’ll need to register first. You’ll be asked a few questions such as name and address but also why you are visiting A&E. If you have been at the hospital before the registrar may also check your health records.