Look after yourself
Colds, sore throats, hangovers, upset stomachs and headaches can all be treated at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet and plenty of rest.
If you, or someone you care for, need prescription medication for a long term health condition, don't forget to make sure you have enough medication to last over any holiday period.
Self-care - your local pharmacist
Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and are able to diagnose and offer treatment for a range of minor illnesses and ailments immediately, without the need for an appointment. Many offer free NHS flu vaccination to those in the eligible groups, these include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with a serious long term medical condition or weakened immune system.
Pharmacies are open long hours - including evenings and weekends - and can be found on high streets and in supermarkets. Please check with your local pharmacy for opening times.
You can also search for pharmacy services near you on NHS Choices
Are you registered?
Everyone should be registered with a GP practice - if you are not registered, you can find information about local GP practices on NHS Choices.
GP practices are usually open Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Many open extended hours - sometimes earlier in the morning or later in the evening and some open on a Saturday. Please check with your practice for details.
Out of hours services (GP and dental)
If you need to see a GP when your own practice is closed or need urgent dental treatment, contact the NHS 111 service who can help.
Call 111 - when it's less urgent than 999
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.
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.
For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.
If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.
For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.
How does it work?
In the north east, NHS 111 is run by the North East Ambulance Service and is staffed by the same, highly trained call handlers who deal with 999 emergencies.
They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre or a walk-in centre, a community nurse, an emergency dentist or a late-opening chemist.
Where possible, the NHS 111 team will book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.
If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.
NHS Walk-in Centres and NHS Minor Injuries Units
For treatment of minor illnesses or injuries without an appointment choose an NHS Walk-In Centre or Minor Injuries Unit. Please note that these services do not treat every condition. If you are in any doubt, call ahead to check what can or cannot be treated.
If you are being treated by your GP for a long term health condition, please contact your GP practice first for advice.
Centres in Newcastle
- Ponteland Road Health Centre Walk-in Service, Blakelaw. A GP led service. Phone: 0191 271 9030. www.pontelandroadhc.co.uk Open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
- Molineux Street Walk-in Centre, Byker. Phone: 0191 275 5862. Open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
- Westgate Walk-in Centre, Westgate Road. Does not treat injured children under six. Phone: 0191 282 3000. Open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) Minor Injuries Unit, next to the RVI emergency department, Richardson Road. Phone: 0191 282 0531. Open 8am to 9pm, seven days a week. (Children under 14 should go to the paediatric emergency department, also next to the RVI emergency department).
A&E or 999 - for health emergencies only
Please ONLY use the 999 service for serious health emergencies, which include: a major accident, broken bones, breathing problems, severe chest pains, unconsciousness, suspected stroke and severe blood loss.