The NHS is still here for you
Make sure you receive the right care when and where you need it.
- Seek the urgent advice you need
- Get the right treatment as soon as possible
- Protect you and your family from future illness
- Access the right healthcare in a safe way
Don’t put off seeking urgent treatment or advice from your Doctor, Midwife or other care expert when you are feeling unwell or worried about a new or existing condition – your health is important to us and there are a range of services available. You can help us, help you by using the service that best meets your needs. This also helps people who are critically unwell get the urgent medical help they need more quickly.
Every care setting including hospitals and GP practices have robust measures in place to keep you and your family safe during face to face appointments. Please attend these appointments if you have been advised to do so.
Your GP Practice
GP services, or primary care services as they are also known, are the front door to the NHS. This means it is often the first place a person may visit when they have a health care need or are seeking advice regarding a health matter.
The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that there have been changes to the way we access advice from GPs and their teams with an increase in online and digital. However primary care has and continues to be as accessible as it always has been.
The pandemic isn’t over so many of these changes are still in place and are being done to ensure everyone is safe. You can find your local GP practice by following this link - NHS find a GP.
Access to appointments
GP practices are open and where appropriate and necessary, are offering face to face consultations. However, increasingly consultations can now be done over the phone or using a digital device.
For those who can access digital devices, the vast majority of GP practices offer online services to their patients, which include booking and cancelling of appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and access to their GP record. Some GP practice websites also offer a service online for patients who need advice and treatment for a health matter. Using this system, a GP or health care professional will get back to you and if necessary, you will be offered an appointment online, by telephone or face-to-face.
Covid-19 has meant we have had to alter our approach to access face-to-face appointments and so for the majority of practices a triage process has been introduced which means a telephone call with a GP initially takes place to determine if advice and treatment can be provided without coming into the surgery, to maintain safety for all and reduce the spread of infection.
If you need to see a GP or clinician in person
You may need to do an assessment over the phone first with a GP or Nurse Practitioner to find out more about your health care need. This means that you are seeing the right person and are seen in the appropriate time.
As part of this initial assessment, our receptionists might need to ask you some additional questions. This is to help ensure that you get the right care, in the right way, by the right professional. All staff operate strict privacy guidelines, all your information is treated confidentially.
If you are unsure of what online services are available at your GP practice, please visit their website.
What services are available at GP practices?
GPs work as part of a multidisciplinary team (MDTs) who support the care of any patient through promoting, preventing and initiating treatment. They will also refer and signpost to other services if required. Therefore, depending on your health care need, it might be appropriate to make an appointment directly with a member of the team other than the GP. These roles will vary in each practice but include:
- Practice Nurses
- Community Midwives
- Community Paramedics
- Nurse Practitioners
- Clinical Pharmacists
- Health Visitors
- Mental Health Specialist
The MDT meet regularly to discuss cases and plan joint approaches to co-ordinate packages of care for patients.
How can you get the best out of your GP consultation, watch this video.
More ways you can access support
The NHS is here to help when you need it - but you can also Help us Help you by knowing when you can care for yourself, and your family at home. By having a well-stocked medicine cabinet you can treat many common health conditions like sore throats, colds, coughs and grazed knees.
If you have a common condition such as coughs and colds, sprains and strains, sore throat, sinusitis, earache, constipation or a headache you can speak to your local pharmacist and get free confidential advice. Pharmacists can advise you on many things from advice on common condition to your medication.
If you’re worried, call NHS111 and they will provide advice over the phone or you can visit 111.nhs.uk.
Pharmacies are a good place to start and can help with many common problems including coughs, colds, stomach problems and aches and pains. Pharmacists are highly qualified and can offer advice and information on many health issues so Help us Help you and try them first for minor problems – and when you just need some advice.
Did you know that you don’t need to call your GP Practice to order repeat prescriptions? You can do this online or through the NHS App. Download the NHS App here
NHS 111 can help with urgent health advice around the clock – you can call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk.
NHS 111 provides advice and can link you up with the service you need – which could include a pharmacy, GP, minor injuries unit, urgent treatment centre or walk-in-centre
NHS 111 can also now book you a timed arrival slot in walk-in centres and Emergency Departments if that’s where you need to be - so you come with a pre-booked appointment, which will often mean you will be seen more quickly – but our ED teams will still need to prioritise patients who are critically ill.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for health advice. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Urgent Treatment Centres
Urgent Treatment Centres and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) can help with many urgent health problems such as broken wrists, ear infections, rashes, minor burns, urinary infections and other minor injuries.
- To Help us Help you, you should still contact NHS111 first and they can book a timed arrival slot – this helps us know you’re coming and it will also help you get seen more quickly.
Only call 999 if it’s a medical emergency – that’s when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
If you’re not sure where to go call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk first for advice.
Emergency Departments are for medical emergencies – they are not for minor health problems.
- If you suspect you or a family member is suffering from tightening chest pains or stoke symptoms dial 999 immediately, every second counts with these conditions.
- Medical emergencies include loss of consciousness, severe confusion, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, severe allergic reactions and serious burns or scalds.
- Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma, such as after a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height, or a serious head injury.
For ongoing cancer treatment, when advised to do so, please attend your regular appointments and screenings to ensure you receive the right care as soon as possible.
New and expectant mums
For new and expectant mothers, your regular antenatal appointments are really important to monitor the health of you and your baby. Your local midwifery team will be in touch to advise you if your appointment will be carried out over the phone or face to face, and the team will always ensure there are safe measures in place to meet social distancing guidelines.
Visit your local hospital’s maternity page for up to date guidance on maternity services:
- Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust
- Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals Trust
- Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust
- Surrey & Sussex Healthcare Trust
Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line
Surrey Heartlands also plans to give women greater choice, including the creation of a single community midwifery team, a shared home birthing team and the introduction of a shared electronic health record system. The three hospital trusts involved are Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Other local support and information
Mindworks Surrey is the new emotional wellbeing and mental health service for children and young people in Surrey.
The Covid-19 pandemic can cause enormous anxiety for many people, even if you haven’t previously suffered. It’s really important that you seek support as soon as possible – there are a number of Surrey services which can offer emotional wellbeing and mental health support. Visit Healthy Surrey for more information.
If you already suffer from anxiety, stress or are receiving ongoing support for your mental health, your key workers and support systems are still here for you. Please continue to seek help in the same way you did before any Covid-19 measures were put in place - the way your support is delivered may be slightly different but the level of support remains unchanged.
Those who are unable to access online services, can continue to seek emotional wellbeing support through a free, 24 hour, 7 day a week confidential helpline on 0808 802 5000 (in high demand periods, an answerphone service may be in place) or by SMS Text 07537 432411 (staffed Monday to Friday 9am-2pm).
For people experiencing a mental health crisis, please telephone 0800 915 4644 (24 hours, 7 days a week). If you have speech or hearing difficulties, you can contact the helpline through SMS 07717 989024, Next Generation text service. Dial 18001 0800 915 4644 from your text phone or smart app.
For non-urgent medical advice, please visit 111 online.
Discover detailed information about the flu vaccination, including the latest resources and FAQs, on the flu vaccination page.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme
Discover detailed information, including the latest Covid-19 FAQs, on the Covid-19 vaccination programme page.
Regular immunisations such as the MMR vaccination are vital in protecting you and your family against preventable, potentially deadly diseases and should not be delayed. Your GP practice can advise on re-scheduling your appointment, and attending in a safe way. Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations for further advice on the different routine vaccinations available.