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Help us help you

Your local NHS offers many different services to ensure you can access the most appropriate care for your health concerns and conditions.

Important information about measles 

If you think you or your child has measles, call your GP surgery or NHS 111 before turning up at Accident and Emergency/Emergency Departments or Urgent Treatment Centres. 

If you have been in contact with a case of measles please read this information about measles.

Children aged 5-11 who have missed doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine will be able to get vaccinated at selected Cheshire and Merseyside pharmacies for the first time thanks to a new initiative being trialled in the North West.  Find out more information. 

Help us help you

If you are worried about your health, don’t delay the NHS wants to see you. Taking action early can reduce the impact of winter illnesses, especially for people aged 65 or older and people with long-term conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, COPD (including emphysema and bronchitis), asthma or diabetes.

There is a lot we can do to look after our health. Local NHS and care services are available to ensure you can access the most appropriate care and treatment for your health concerns and conditions.

If you need medical help fast, think you need to go to an accident and emergency department or aren’t sure which service is right for you, NHS 111 can help.

Contact NHS 111 online or by calling 111. NHS 111 is a free service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Please remember that accident and emergency departments and 999 are for life- threatening emergencies and serious injuries.

No matter how busy accident and emergency is, the most seriously ill patients will always be seen first.

Image says our Emergency Department is extremely busy

Our Emergency Department (Accident and Emergency) is currently very busy. If you need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening emergency please consider using one of the local NHS Urgent Treatment Centres in Runcorn, Widnes or St Helens or visit your local pharmacy.

If you are unsure which service is right for your health needs, please contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

More details are available on this page.

For some, particularly older people and those with a weakened immune system, COVID-19 can still be very dangerous and even life-threatening. COVID-19 vaccines offered by the NHS provide protection against the virus and help reduce the risk of serious illness.

Top up your protection against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated this spring if you are eligible. 

Those at increased risk from severe illness can get the vaccine, including those aged 75 or over (on 30 June 2024), people with a weakened immune system or who live in an older adult care home. The NHS will visit care homes and housebound people from 15 April to offer the vaccine.

The NHS will be inviting those eligible, but you do not need to wait for an invitation to book your vaccine. Booking a spring COVID-19 vaccine is simple and easy if you are eligible:

  • Download the NHS App and make an appointment
  • Visit www.nhs.uk/get-vaccine
  • Call 119 for free if you can’t get online (translators are available)

Some areas also offer convenient walk-in options – to find out what is available visit, www.nhs.uk/covid-walk-in. 

Don’t get caught out. If you or your child are eligible, make sure you get any extra protection you need this spring. Get vaccinated against COVID-19.

You can find out the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination  

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There are many things we can all do to keep well this winter and many winter illnesses can be safely treated at home.

  • getting vaccinated to protect against flu and COVID-19 if you are aged 65 or over; pregnant; have a health condition that puts you at risk; or are an unpaid carer or household contact of someone at risk
  • washing your hands properly with soap and water to prevent the spread of viruses such as flu and norovirus (also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’ - visit nhs.uk/handwashing
  • ordering repeat prescriptions before you run out, through your GP, local pharmacy or NHS-approved apps
  • asking your pharmacist what over-the-counter medicines should be in your cabinet to help you and your family relieve symptoms of common winter illnesses such as colds, sinusitis or earache
  • speaking to your GP practice about NHS Talking Therapies if you are anxious, depressed or struggling to cope – please contact the Mersey Care 24/7 freephone crisis line on 0800 051 1508, if you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis or visit merseycare.nhs.uk/urgent-help
  • checking for safety concerns around the home which is particularly important for reducing the risk of trips and falls for those who are elderly and frail. Simple changes can include moving rugs and mats from the top and bottom of the stairs, installing a night light near the bed to make sure you can see if you wake at night, and removing trip hazards like trailing wires or clutter from your home. It is also important to think about fire safety and installing smoke alarms on very floor of your home an provide a vital early warning should a fire start. For a free online home fire safety check visit www.ohfsc.co.uk. 
  • keep active to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes among other illnesses. Regular exercise can improve physical and mental health and be beneficial for recovery if you do get ill. Visit nhs.uk/keepactive or ageuk.org.uk/active
  • looking out for other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members who may need a bit of extra help over the winter
  • providing support for someone returning home from a stay in hospital, including putting the heating on, arranging help around the home, and stocking up on basic food supplies and medicines

For more information on staying well this winter visit the NHS website www.nhs.uk/staywell

Information on when and how to access health and care services in Halton and Warrington is contained within this web page.

For information on the signs, symptoms and treatment for range of common health conditions in adults and children and advice on when to seek further help and advice visit: 

NHS 111 Symptom Checker

Childhood illness symptom checker 

Find information on the most common illnesses in children, before you make a decision to visit Accident and Emergency. (Provided by Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust).

Health A to Z - NHS (www.nhs.uk)


It's important to get your seasonal flu and COVID-19 vaccinations if you're at higher risk of getting seriously ill from these illnesses.

You may be able get the NHS flu and COVID-19 vaccines if you:

  • are aged 65 or over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • have certain health conditions or a learning disability
  • are pregnant
  • live with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • are a carer
  • are a frontline health or social care worker
  • live in a care home

For more information on who can access the adult flu and COVID-19 vaccines and how to book vaccination slots visit www.nhs.uk/staywell


Most children can get the children's flu vaccine. This includes children who were aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023, school-aged children (Reception to Year 11) and children with certain health conditions.

For more information visit the NHS web page: Child flu vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

If you need medical help fast, think you need to go to an accident and emergency department or aren’t sure which service is right for you, contact NHS 111 online or by phone. NHS 111 is a free service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

NHS 111 advisors can provide health advice, put you in touch with the most appropriate service for your needs and arrange to have you seen by an emergency dentist, GP, or pharmacist.

They can also or call you an ambulance or book you in to be seen quickly and safely at an accident and emergency / emergency department or urgent treatment centre, if required.

Go online to 111.nhs.uk or call 111. British Sign Language interpreter service and other language interpreters are available. For text relay service call 18001 111 using the Relay UK app or a textphone.

If you someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, you should call 999 immediately.

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.

Pharmacy First

From early 2024 a newly launched Pharmacy First service enables highly trained community pharmacists to supply prescription only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals, where clinically appropriate, to treat a range of conditions.

This includes treatment for earache (for those aged between 1 to 17 years of age), impetigo, infected insect bites, shingles, sinusitis, sore throat and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women aged 16 to 64 years. Patients don’t need an appointment to access the service, and private consultation rooms are available.

All community pharmacies across Warrington and Halton have signed up to offer the service, providing an easy and more convenient way to access clinical advice on your doorstep.

You don’t need to make an appointment, or even make a purchase to speak with them in confidence in a private consultation area.

Over-the-counter remedies 

Ask your pharmacist what medicines (including paracetamol and ibruprofen) should be in your cabinet to help you and your family relieve the symptoms of common winter illnesses such as colds sinusitis or ear infections.

Emergency / out-of-hours pharmacy services

If you run out of medicine outside of your GP surgery's normal opening hours and need some urgently, there are a few ways to get an emergency supply quickly, even if you're away from home.

If you already have a prescription and urgently need the medicine, you can get your medicine from any pharmacy as long as they have it in stock. Use the NHS pharmacy service search to find other nearby pharmacies and their opening hours – some are open until midnight or later, even on public holidays.

If you do not have a prescription visit the NHS website, Out-of-hours-medicines - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

NHS Urgent Treatment Centres in Runcorn and Widnes are open from 8am to 9pm, seven days a week, 365 days are year (including bank holidays) but please arrive before 8pm to allow time to be seen before closing.
Urgent Treatment Centres have an x-ray department and can treat a range of conditions 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

The centres in our area also provide arrival time slots for patients who contact NHS 111. 

Runcorn Urgent Treatment Centre
Nightingale Building
Hospital Way
Telephone: 01928 753408  

See the current waiting times for Runcorn Urgent Treatment Centre.

Widnes Urgent Treatment Centre
Health Care Resource Centre
Oaks Place
Caldwell Road, Widnes
01925 946436

To find alternative urgent treatment centres visit the NHS website.

You can get help from your GP surgery for free, but you will usually need to make an appointment.

GPs offer routine and urgent appointments during practice opening hours and can also refer you to other NHS services.

You can contact your GP practice by phone, through their practice website or through the NHS App. If you need a face-to-face appointment, you will be given one.

Find out more about GP Appointments and Bookings

Evening and weekend appointments at Enhanced Access Hubs

Appointments are available at the hubs or within some GP practices. Appointments can be booked via your GP practice or direct with the service when your practice is closed.

Runcorn Widnes  Warrington

Monday to Friday

6.30pm to 8.30pm

Monday to Friday 

6.30pm to 9pm

Monday to Friday

6.30pm to 8pm

Saturday 9am to 5pm Saturday 9am to 5pm Saturday 9am to 5pm
Call: 01928 593078 Call: 0151 424 6221

Bookable through GP practices


An out of hours GP service is also available from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays. See the section on the Help us help you page.

Repeat prescriptions 

Always order repeat prescriptions before you run out, through your GP, local pharmacy or NHS-approved apps, including the NHS App. This is especially important before your GP practice or pharmacy closes for holidays.
If you have been prescribed antibiotics or any other medication, make sure you take them as directed.

Registering with a GP practice

Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery to access NHS services. It's free to register and can be done online. You do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.
For information on registering with a GP practice visit - How to register with a GP surgery - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

The GP Out of hHours service is available from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays.

Patients can access the service by contacting NHS 111 online or by phone.

All patients will be assessed by a clinician over the phone.

A clinical decision will be made about the medical care each patient requires.

This may result in telephone advice only, an invite to a face-to-face consultation or home visit from one of the service GPs.

Halton's GP out of hours face-to-face service is located within the Runcorn Urgent Treatment Centre.

Warrington GP out of hours face-to-face service is located at Bath Street Health and Wellbeing Centre.

Please do not attend without an appointment for a face-to-face consultation.


Our Emergency Department (also known as Accident and Emergency) is located at Warrington Hospital, Lovely Lane, WA5 1QG.

Please remember an emergency department should be used for genuine life-threatening illnesses and emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped, stroke or major trauma such as a road traffic accident.

See the current waiting times for Warrington Emergency Deparment on our website.

If you someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, you should call 999 immediately.

The ‘999 British Sign Language (BSL) UK Emergency Video Relay Service’ enables a deaf person to use an app on their smart phone, tablet or laptop to call an emergency service, including ambulance, police, fire or coastguard services.

When using the service, a remote British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter appears on the patient’s screen. The emergency service operator will receive a call from the remote BSL interpreter, who then relays the conversation by seeing and communicating with the deaf person on the screen.

You do not have to register to use this service and it is free of charge for all users. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Watch this video for instructions on how to use the service.

Dentists are open for urgent and routine treatments. If you're registered with a dentist, you can contact the surgery by phone or in person.

You might have to wait for an appointment if it's not urgent.

If you need dental treatment in an emergency:

  • call a dentist: some surgeries offer urgent appointments at short notice
  • if you do not have a dentist, find one by calling NHS 111

Do not contact a GP, as they will not be able to offer emergency or out-of-hours dental care.

Only go to a hospital accident and emergency department if you have:

  • heavy bleeding 
  • injuries to your face and mouth
  • severe swelling, or increasing swelling of your mouth, lips, throat, neck or eye

If you're in pain while waiting to see a dentist, take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. NHS 111 can also offer other self-care advice.

For more information visit the NHS website page:  How can I access an NHS dentist in an emergency or out of hours? - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

To find and register with an NHS dentist visit the NHS website page: Dental services - NHS (www.nhs.uk)


Warrington Urgent Community Response (UCR) service

A step up and step down service supporting professionals to maintain people at home – to prevent avoidable hospital attendances and admissions – and to help people return home from hospital who need extra support.

Operates  365 days per year, from 8am to 8pm, working in partnership with a wider community team.

The team is made up of nurses, social workers and therapists who ensure people are supported to:

  • remain at home when things start to get challenging or difficult
  • recover after a fall, accident, acute illness or operation that would otherwise put them at risk of going into hospital
  • reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital
  • return home more quickly after a hospital stay

To receive support from the service, please call 01925 444220.

For more information visit Warrington Borough Council website page: Urgent Community Response (UCR) service | warrington.gov.uk

Halton Council Social Care

For information on adult and children’s social care services visit Halton Borough Council webpage: 
Get in touch with adult and children social care teams (halton.gov.uk)

A mental health crisis often means that you no longer feel able to cope or be in control of your situation. It often involves a sudden or continued worsening of your symptoms. You may feel great emotional distress or anxiety, feel you can't cope with day-to-day life, think about suicide or self-harm, or experience hallucinations and hearing voices.

Children, young people and adults in Halton and Warrington who need urgent mental health support, can call the Mersey Care 24/7 freephone crisis line on 0800 051 1508.

For more information the crisis line and other mental health services available in this area visit the Mersey Care website Help in a crisis (merseycare.nhs.uk)

If you live outside of the above areas visit nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth 

You can get mental health support and advice by texting the word REACH to 85258. The text service is available 24/7 and offers free and confidential support to adults, children and young people who can be put in touch with a trained volunteer. 

If you are looking for tips, guides, tools and activities to support your overall mental health visit Self-help - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

For information and advice on a range of conditions and NHS services visit nhs.uk

It's really important that you try to attend your hospital appointment. If you have been asked to come and see us at the hospitals it is because your doctor thinks you should see a specialist expert about your health and you may need some important treatment.

If you really can't make your appointment, don't worry but please let us know with as much notice as possible by calling the number on your appointment letter or by cancelling it via the online cancellation service here.

Not well?
If you have symptoms of flu, COVID-19 or norovirus (upset stomach) please avoid visiting our hospitals and let us know if you need to cancel or rearrange your appointment by using the contact on your appointment letter.

Hospital stays are designed to provide specific and, usually, intense care. We all know that it’s much better for a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing to leave hospital as soon as they are medically ready to do so. Patients who stay in hospital longer than is necessary may face associated risks, such as infections and the loss of independence and mobility.

We are working to reduce prolonged hospital stays and help our patients continue their recovery at home. For those that can’t go straight home we will support them in their next steps. 

We want to encourage more patients in hospital to ask ‘When am I going home? and to support their loved ones and carers to prepare for their return home and their continued recovery. 

For more information on what to ask and how to prepare, visit our Going home from hospital page.