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Alternative services

Our emergency departments are always here for you and your family when you need urgent critical care.

Emergency departments deal with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:

If you need urgent medical attention but it's not a life-threatening situation, you could be seen and treated faster at a number of different services available across the region:

NHS 111

If you need medical help urgently, but it's not life-threatening, contact NHS 111 first rather than going straight to A&E.

NHS 111 will help you right away and direct you to the best service for your needs. If needed, a healthcare professional will call you.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day. You can access it online at, on the NHS App or by calling 111, free of charge, from a landline or mobile phone.

If you or a loved one have a life-threatening illness or injury, you should call 999 straight away.

  • For other conditions, contact your GP as normal or speak to your pharmacist.
  • For advice on treating very minor ailments at home, speak to your pharmacist or visit

Minor Injuries

If you have a minor injury such as a sprain, strain, broken bone or minor head injury, you can also go straight to your local Minor Injury Unit (MIU) or Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) in Yate, Hengrove or Clevedon.


You can get treatment for seven common health conditions directly from their local pharmacist, without needing a GP appointment. The Pharmacy First scheme makes it easier and quicker for patients to access care and treatment on their high street, while easing pressure on GP services. Under the scheme, pharmacists can supply prescription-only medicines to treat seven conditions, where assessment indicates this is appropriate, without patients needing to visit their GP practice. The conditions are:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo (a bacterial skin infection)
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women

The service is available direct from pharmacies or by referral from a GP, NHS 111 or other health services. If prescription medicines are not appropriate, pharmacists will offer advice or 'over the counter' medicines, or both.


Self-care is perfect if your condition is something you will be able to treat at home, such as coughs, colds and common childhood illnesses.


The HANDi app aims to provide advice and support to parents and carers when your child is unwell.

The HANDI app offers simple and straightforward advice, for the following conditions in children:

  • diarrhoea and vomiting 
  • high temperature
  • 'chesty baby' illnesses, such as bronchiolitis, asthma and croup
  • 'chesty child' illnesses such as wheezing and asthma
  • abdominal pain
  • common newborn problems
  • head injuries

The app takes you through a series of questions about the symptoms your child is experiencing and then advises on the best course of action, whether that's to treat at home, to make a GP appointment, or to head to A&E. 

Download the HANDi App for Android phones at Google Play.

For iPhone or iPad you can download it from the app store or iTunes, using the search term 'HANDi App'.

Coming home from hospital

If you have a loved one who is due to leave hospital there are a few simple steps you can take to help get them ready for discharge. 

  • check the date the person is due to come home
  • bring in a change of clothes
  • arrange transport or ask staff for help
  • ensure their home is ready for their return with the heating on and food in the fridge