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Healthwatch Essex Information Service

With such a vast and complicated health and social care system, it's not always clear where you should go to find information.

If you would like to find out about health and care services where you live, call Healthwatch Essex Information Service on 0300 500 1895. It's your one-stop-shop for information about health and care services in your area.

Other links:

If you're feeling unwell but are not sure where to go, make sure you seek the right help and advice.

NHS 111 is the best number to call if you need non life-threatening health services fast. NHS 111 is free and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Choose the right service for your needs.

  Self care

Treat yourself at home for things like a grazed knee, sore throat, cough.

Self-care means keeping yourself fit and healthy as well as knowing how to take medicines, treat minor illnesses and look for help when you need it. If you have a long-term condition, self care is about understanding the condition and how to live with it.

Visit NHS Choices to find out how a well-stocked medicine cabinet can prepare you for most common ailments. www.selfcareforum.org offers guidance on self care.

  NHS 111

If you need medical help fast but it's not an emergency, NHS 111 can help by giving advice and/or access to the most appropriate services such as dentist, pharmacy, community services and GP services. NHS 111 can also dispatch an ambulance if needed. 

NHS 111 is free from landlines and mobiles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

NHS 111
NHS 111 information

  Pharmacist

Visit your local pharmacist for things like diarrhoea, minor infections, headache, earache, coughs and colds, runny nose, warts and verrucas.

You could save yourself time and trouble with a visit to your pharmacy. Instead of waiting for a GP appointment, you can visit your local pharmacist at any time - just walk in. Pharmacists can give advice or, where appropriate, medicines that will help clear up the problem.

If your problem is more serious, your pharmacist will recognise this and advise you to see your GP instead. 

To find your local pharmacy, visit www.nhs.uk/service-search.  

  GP surgery/health centre 

Visit your GP for things like continuing ear pain, fever, stomach pain, vomiting and other illnesses.

GPs look after the health of people in their local community and deal with a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, offer advice on smoking and diet, run clinics, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical operations.

To find your local GP surgery visit www.nhs.uk/service-search  or call NHS 111.

  Out-of-hours health services 

The out-of-hours period for GP services is 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays and all day weekends and on bank holidays.

If your GP surgery or dentist is shut but you need assistance urgently, NHS 111 can book you an appointment with an out-of-hours GP if necessary. 

  A&E or 999

A&E and 999 should only be used for serious emergencies like choking, chest pains, heavy bleeding, if you can't breathe, serious burns, fractures.

To find your local A&E department visit www.nhs.uk/service-search or call 999.
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