Your local NHS offers many different options to ensure you can access the most appropriate care for your health concerns and conditions.
If you are experiencing a 999 emergency, which means that it is critical or life-threatening, then phone 999 for emergency help.
If your injury or illness is not life-threatening, then you should consider which route is the most appropriate for you.
What are the alternatives?
Dr Alex Crowe, Medical Director advises on alternative options to A&E
(please note that there is a subtitle option if required)
Your local high street Pharmacy is a good place to start if you have a minor ailment such as a headache, cough or sore throat. Pharmacists are qualified to give advice and dispense medicine for a range of illnesses including colds, stomach upsets, skin conditions and much more. Pharmacists can provide many treatments ‘over the counter’ to help you get better at home.
You don’t need to make an appointment, or even make a purchase to speak with them in confidence in a private consultation area.
Find your local Pharmacy here:
“Care at the Chemist” is a minor aliments scheme within Halton, which means that eligible patients can receive advice and treatment for a range of conditions direct from their pharmacists rather than going to their GP.
If you don’t pay for prescriptions, then any medication provided under the scheme will be free of charge.
Your GP Practice is open, and you can contact them online, through the NHS App or by phone so you can be assessed. If you need a face-to-face appointment, you will be given one.
Measures have been put in place to protect patients and staff from COVID-19, so it is safe to attend. You can also call any GP Surgery to get emergency treatment for up to 14 days if you are not registered with a GP or are away from home.
We also have three excellent Urgent Treatment Centres available across Widnes, Runcorn and St Helens. Urgent Treatment Centres are GP-led and are equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for.
Centre Oaks Place, Caldwell Road, Widnes, WA8 7GD
Open 8:00am – 9:00pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
The Nightingale Building, Hospital Way, Palacefields, Runcorn, WA7 2DA
Open 8:00am – 9:0pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
Residents of Warrington can catch a free shuttle bus from Warrington Hospital to Halton Hospital to access the on-site Urgent Treatment Centre.
The Millennium Centre, Corporate Street, St Helens, WA10 1HJ
Open 7:00am – 10:00pm Monday – Saturday and 9:00pm – 10:00pm Sunday and Bank Holidays
Urgent Treatment Centres have an x-ray department, and you can be seen here for a wide range of issues that require urgent treatment, but are not life-threatening, such as:
- Minor cuts or wounds
- Bites, stings, rashes and allergic reactions
- Minor burns and scalds
- Sprains, strains and joint pains
- Ear or eye injuries and infections
You do not need to make an appointment, just turn up and you will be seen, often with a much shorter waiting time than visiting the A&E Hospital Department.
If you need urgent medical advice and are not sure which is the best place for you, then please visit http://111.nhs.uk or call 111 free.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You will answer questions about your symptoms on the website, or by speaking with a fully trained advisor on the phone. Depending on the situation, you will:
Find out what local service can help you
- Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
- Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
- Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E (this might mean you spend less time in A&E)
- Be told how to get any medicine you need
- Get self-care advice
The Out of Hours Service is available 6:30pm – 8:00am on weekdays and 24 hours at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Patients can access the service by contacting NHS 111.
All patients received to the service will be triaged by a GP over the phone. A clinical decision will then be made about the medical care each patient requires. This consultation may result in a face-to-face consultation or a home visit from one of the service’s GPs.
Halton’s Out of Hours Service is located out of the Runcorn Urgent Treatment Centre.