What service do I need?

It can be hard to know what to do if you or someone you know or care for is feeling unwell. At NHS 111 Wales, we are here to give you quick and easy access to health advice and care – for example, a GP, nurse, pharmacist or a Minor Injury Unit – where you will often be seen far more quickly than in Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments, where only patients with major illnesses or injuries can be treated.

 

Remember, 999 should only ever be used when there is a serious or life-threatening emergency.

 

If you are ill or injured and it’s not a serious or life-threatening emergency, there are many options of healthcare available to you:

*Please note: to prevent the spread of Covid-19, access to some healthcare services, e.g. dentists, may have changed.

 

NHS 111 Wales Symptom Checkers

If you or someone you care for is feeling unwell, then your first port of call should be to use our online Symptom Checkers. This will help you to choose what to do or who to see next if you experience common health problems like a rash, stomach pain, back pain, cough, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea, or if you are just feeling generally unwell.

 

Looking after yourself

Self-care is one of the most important things we can do to look after our health. Not only should we have a healthy diet and exercise regularly, but we should also be prepared for any minor illnesses or injuries. Many illnesses and injuries can be treated at home, so keeping a well-stocked first aid kit and medicine cabinet is very handy. Find out what essentials you should be keeping in your home by visiting our Medicine Cabinet. For information on how to look after your physical and mental health, visit Living and Feeling Well.

 

Mental health and wellbeing services

Mental health is about how we think, feel, and behave. Maybe you have been feeling down or anxious lately. Or maybe you are worried you may harm yourself. If you need advice and support with your mental wellbeing, there are many services available to you – online and over the phone. For more information and access to free, safe resources, visit Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Many support groups and charities also offer advice, confidential counselling, and information about the types of treatment available and where to get help. To find your nearest support service, use our health, wellbeing and support search.

If you look after someone who is ill or disabled, your wellbeing at times may be affected. To find information about services that could help you cope with caring for someone, please visit Carers Wales.

 

GP

As well as giving health advice and prescribing medications for many illnesses, your GP might also provide contraceptive services, vaccinations, maternity services, and minor surgery. Some practices may choose to offer further services such as travel vaccinations or specialised sexual health services. Each GP practice will have produced a practice leaflet outlining what services and care can be expected. For information about GPs and the services available, visit FAQ on GPs.

If you are ill or injured and unsure what to do, you can use our 111 Symptom Checkers first. However, there may be times when you will need to contact your GP, including outside of normal surgery hours. The out-of-hours period is usually from 6:30pm to 8:00am on weekdays and all day at weekends and bank holidays. If you phone your GP during this time, please listen to the answerphone message for information on how to access GP out-of-hours.

To find your nearest GP surgery, use our GP search.

 

Pharmacy

Pharmacies are readily available with no appointment needed, offering advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, aches and pains. Pharmacies can also offer free emergency contraception or needle exchange services. In addition to services provided by high street pharmacies, pharmacy services are also accessible from a range of superstores, frequently operating outside the usual high street opening hours. To find your nearest pharmacy and the services it can provide, use our pharmacy search.

For details of pharmacies that are open outside normal working hours, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays, use our pharmacy search and filter your results by selecting ‘Out of Hours Service’. As local pharmacy arrangements can change, we advise you to contact the pharmacy first to ensure they are open and/or have the medication that you need.

 

Minor Injury Unit

If you have an injury that is not serious you can go to a Minor Injury Unit for help, instead of going to A&E. Minor Injury Units can treat injuries ranging from broken bones, dislocations and sprains, to wounds, burns and animal bites. For the type of injuries that Minor Injury Units can treat, visit Minor Injury Unit.

To find your nearest Minor Injury Unit, use our hospital search and filter your results by selecting ‘Minor Injury Unit’. We advise you to check the opening hours of the Minor Injury Unit first.

 

A&E / Hospital

In A&E, people with serious or life-threatening emergencies are prioritised for treatment. You should not go to A&E unless you or someone you care for is having a serious or life-threatening emergency.

Hospitals offer a wide range of treatment which is generally arranged through your GP, dentist or optician. You may attend hospital as:

  • An outpatient (you will have an appointment with a specialist but will not stay overnight).
  • A day patient (you will be given a hospital bed for tests or surgery but will not stay overnight).
  • An inpatient (you will stay in hospital for one night or more for tests, medical treatment, or surgery).

Treatment at NHS hospitals is free. However, if you are not a resident of the UK, please visit the Welsh Government website.

To find your nearest hospital, use our hospital search. Not all hospitals offer the same services, so select ‘services offered’ to find what treatment your hospital can provide.

For more information, visit Hospital Appointments, Admission, and Discharge.

 

Dentist

Your dentist can help you with routine check-ups, treatment, and dental emergencies. The following are classed as dental emergencies:

  • Dental bleeding that will not stop.
  • Acute spreading infection (swelling of the lip, tongue, or cheek).
  • Damage to teeth or jaws because of an accident.

Toothache, no matter how bad, is not classed as a dental emergency. For more information on how you can help yourself with this dental problem, visit Toothache. Alternatively, you can use our Dental Symptom Checker.

If you would like advice on pain relief, you should contact your dentist. To find your nearest dentist, use our dentist search. If you cannot find an NHS dentist and require urgent treatment, please contact your local dental helpline – to find the number for your area visit Dental Services.

For more advice on dental services, including information on NHS and private dentists, registration, and costs of different treatment, visit FAQ on Dentists.

If you are looking for advice on teething for your little one, please visit Teething.

 

Optician

Your eyes rarely hurt when something is wrong with them, so it’s important to have regular eye tests to make sure that they are healthy.

If you are having problems with your eyes, your optician can help you. This could be by carrying out eye examinations, giving advice on visual problems, prescribing glasses and contact lenses, and referring cases of eye disease where appropriate.  

When you go for an eye test, you will be examined by an Optometrist or Ophthalmic Medical Practitioner (OMP) – both of which are professionals trained in eye abnormalities and conditions. To find your nearest optician, use our eye-care search.

 

Sexual health services

Sexual health services are free, completely confidential, and available to everyone. Sexual health or GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinics offer a variety of services, such as:

Some sexual health clinics also offer cervical screening, family planning services and abortion services.

If you are looking for contraception, you can also talk to your GP. Many pharmacies will also offer confidential emergency contraception. You can search for emergency contraception by using our emergency contraception search.

Looking after your sexual health is important. If you want to carry out an STI test from the comfort of your own home, Frisky Wales offers free home-testing kits for specific STIs and can also send free condoms in the post to under 25-year-olds.