Should I go to A&E?

Choosing the Right Services, at the Right Time! 

A&E isn’t always the best place to go. You may get more appropriate and faster treatment elsewhere.

If you or a member of your family becomes ill or injured, choosing the right NHS service can help you get on the road to recovery in no time.

So, what are our options?

Self Care

Sometimes the best person to take care of you is yourself or a family member.

You should be prepared for some of the most common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet and first-aid kit at home. A local pharmacist can give you advice on what to have in.

Essentials include:

Pain relief

Painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen are effective at relieving most minor aches and pains


These are useful for allergies and insect bites. They are also helpful if you have hay fever.

Fluid replacement drinks

Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting make us lose the water and minerals we need and can lead to dehydration. Fluid replacement drinks can help restore your body’s natural balance of minerals and fluid

Indigestion treatment

If you have stomach ache, heartburn or trapped wind

First aid

A well-prepared first aid kit can help treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises

For more information please click here.


Pharmacists can advise on common illnesses such as coughs, colds, aches and pains and the medicines you need to treat them. They can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor.

You can talk to your pharmacist in confidence and you don’t need an appointment. Most pharmacies now have a quiet consultation area where patients can discuss health problems in privacy.

Services from your local pharmacy include:

• Emergency contraception
• Chlamydia screening and treatment
• Pregnancy testing
• Medicines Reviews
• Stop smoking services
• Weight management
• Truss fittings
• Incontinence supplies
• Needle exchange and supervised drug administration

They can help with minor ailments such as:

• Bugs and viruses
• Minor injuries
• Tummy troubles
• Women’s health (for example menopause or menstruation)
• Skin conditions
• Allergies
• Aches and pains
• Children’s minor illnesses and mishaps

Your GP (family doctor)

If your pharmacist is unable to deal with your condition or it doesn’t get better after a few days, your GP can help. They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.

NHS 111

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.

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

A&E or 999

Emergency services are always busy but this is particularly true during the winter.

You should only attend A&E (sometimes known as “Casualty”) if you are badly hurt, seriously ill or if you have been advised to go there by SPA (or NHS 111), your GP or a Pharmacist.

This includes when someone:

• is unconscious
• has severe chest pain
• has a fever and is persistently lethargic despite having paracetamol or ibuprofen
• has a head injury and vomiting
• has heavy blood loss
• is having difficulty breathing (breathing fast, panting or are very wheezy)
• has severe abdominal pain
• has a cut that won’t stop bleeding or is gaping open
• has a leg or arm injury and can’t use the limb
• has swallowed poison or tablets
• has an object lodged in nose or ear.

There are A&E departments at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital, Scartho Road, Grimsby, DN33 2BA and at Scunthorpe General Hospital, Cliff Gardens, Scunthorpe, North East Lincolnshire DN15 7BH.

Take some time to find out more about the variety of healthcare services that are available to you and your family and what they can offer. Remember,  999 and A&E services are for people with very serious injuries, illnesses and emergencies.