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3 alternatives when you can't get GP appointment

14/11/2018

A woman talking to a GP receptionist to book an appointment. The lady is wearing a green top.

It’s never great when you can’t get a GP appointment in a moment of need. So in aid of Self Care Week, we are sharing 3 GP appointment alternatives you could use when you’re stuck in an urgent situation – without making an unnecessary visit to A&E. 

 1. Pharmacist

Did you know, Pharmacists are the Health Professional of the High Street! They do way more than just prescriptions. They offer a variety of services, some of these include:

  • Advise you on minor health concerns
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Support for carers
  • Chlamydia screening and treatment service
  • Emergency hormonal contraception service

So if you need some support on losing weight, or have a mysterious rash you'd like looked at, the pharmacist may be able to help. This is only a short list of the services your pharmacy may have available. For more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/pharmacies/what-to-expect-from-your-pharmacy-team/

2. NHS 111

The NHS 111 phone line is staffed by fully trained advisers 24/7 so you can always get medical support when you need it. During the phone call, they ask questions to evaluate your symptoms and decide what would be best in your situation. They have the ability to:

  • Give you self-care advice
  • Connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP
  • Book you a face-to-face appointment
  • Send an ambulance directly, if necessary
  • Direct you to the right local service that can best help with your concern

Did you know, NHS 111 also has a relay service for people who are Deaf?

You can also get help or advice online using your smartphone, tablet or computer.  For more information about the NHS 111 service, visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care/nhs-111/

3. Urgent care centres (Walk-in centre and Minor Injuries Unit)

Urgent treatment centres are open at least 12 hours a day (including bank holidays) and are led by GPs.  These centres are there when you need urgent medical attention but it isn’t a life-threatening situation.

A few conditions that can be treated include:

  • sprains, strains and suspected broken limbs
  • minor head injuries
  • cuts, grazes, bites and stings
  • minor scalds and burns
  • ear and throat infections
  • skin infections and rashes
  • coughs and colds
  • vomiting and diarrhoea 

There are a number of Urgent Care Centres around Kent but they are usually based in a town. This may mean you have to travel further to get medical support. To find your local walk-in centre visit https://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Walk-in%20centre/LocationSearch/663

For more information about Urgent Treatment Centres and what services they can offer, visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care/when-to-visit-an-urgent-care-centre/ 


These are a few routes you could take to getting medical support but if you are having issues getting appointments, or are unhappy about the service given by your GP practice, the best thing to do first is to talk to someone, such as the practice manager.

If you would like to share your experience of local health and social care services and make a difference for others, get in touch with us through our Freephone on 0808 801 0102 or click ‘share your experience’. Your experiences do matter!

 

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