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Thinking Differently

Your local NHS services

Understanding the correct service to access for your needs is important as it will usually mean you will be seen quicker and by the right health care person, who is able to help. This page explains more about each type of NHS service and how it can help you.

From coughs, colds and sore throats to upset stomachs, aches and pains, self-care at home is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses, ailments and injuries.

A big part of your recovery from these minor ailments is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. You can plan ahead by stocking up on some healthcare essentials – paracetamol or aspirin, indigestion remedies and plasters for example. You can find all these at your local pharmacy.

Help stop the spread of infection: If you have sickness and diarrhoea don’t go to your GP practice or hospital, instead drink plenty of fluids and call your GP practice if you are worried, especially if you have other health conditions.

When you’ve got a minor illness you can’t treat at home, and it isn’t an emergency, you should go to your local Pharmacy for quick expert advice.

Your local pharmacist is a trained medicine expert who can offer you free, confidential advice and treatment for a wide range of conditions. They can also answer questions about prescribed and over the counter medicines and no appointment is necessary.

To view the Pharmacy First Patient Leaflet click here

To find your nearest participating community pharmacy click here

NHS 111 is the NHS non-emergency number.  It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

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

Sign Language

NHS 111 offers a video relay service that allows you to make a video call to a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter. The BSL interpreter will call an NHS 111 adviser on your behalf and you’re then able to have a real-time conversation with the NHS 111 adviser, via the interpreter.

Visit NHS 111 BSL interpreter service for more details.

To read more on how to access NHS 111 click here

If you have a non-urgent, ongoing illness or injury, then you should make an appointment to see your GP.

Your local GP surgery provides a wide range of family health services, including advice on health problems, vaccinations, examinations and treatment, prescriptions for medicines, referrals to other health services and social services.

Many GP surgeries have longer opening hours now – including early morning and late evenings and offer emergency appointments for urgent cases. If you need urgent medical care when your surgery is closed (and it can’t wait until the morning) call your GP surgery and you will receive information on how to contact the out of hours GP service.

The Urgent Treatment Centre offers non-emergency care for walk-in patients who have minor illnesses and injuries that need urgent attention. The Urgent Care Centre is staffed with GPs and nurse practitioners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Some of the conditions treated here include:

  • Minor burns and bites
  • Fever and raised temperatures
  • Sickness and vomiting
  • Irritation and rashes
  • Mild breathing difficulties
  • Cuts and scrapes

The Urgent Care Centre is accessed via the Emergency Department. You cannot access the Urgent Care Centre via any other route.

The Emergency Department is located at:

Russells Hall Hospital
Pensnett Rd

Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used if you have had an accident or if it’s a health emergency. You should go to A&E or call 999 for an ambulance to take you to A&E if someone is experiencing:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds

At A&E, the most seriously ill patients will be seen before those with less urgent conditions. This means some people have to wait for several hours for treatment, or they may be redirected, for example, to a GP or urgent care centre.

The nearest A&E department in Dudley is at:

Russells Hall Hospital
Pensnett Rd

All patients in Dudley have a choice of where and when to go to see a specialist, which is called Patient Choice. This is part of the NHS Constitution which states that you, as a patient, have a legal right to choose which hospital or service you would like to go to (exclusions apply).

If your GP needs to refer you to see a specialist, you have a choice of the hospital or service where you’d like to go to. This will include private hospitals as long as they provide services to the NHS and it doesn’t cost the NHS any more than a referral to a traditional NHS hospital. What happens when you are referred by your GP to see a specialist?

You can either book your appointment while you are at the GP surgery, or online using the shortlist of hospitals or services, provided in your Appointment Request letter. The shortlist is selected by your GP, so make sure you tell them about your preferences during the appointment.

Your GP can also go through with you to compare information about hospitals or consultants, including quality outcomes, waiting times, parking and travel to choice the location or appointment that suits you.

For further information please see the information leaflet or view the Patient Choice section on NHS Choices