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Before you see your GP or other healthcare professional, do you know what sort of help you’re looking for? Is it a diagnosis; treatment; reassurance; problems with existing treatments; alternative treatments; referral to other health services; or monitoring; or something else?
It can help to be clear about what you’d like to come out of the consultation with so that you can be clear what you’re asking for and clear, afterwards, whether you got what you felt you needed – or, if not, whether you’re happy with the result nonetheless.
BE AS HONEST AND OPEN as you can.
Pharmacists - can help with treatments for a variety of minor ailments and also advise whether you should see a doctor (see What your pharmacist can do for you). You can just call in to any pharmacy and ask to speak to the pharmacist without having to make an appointment.
GP Practices - General practitioners (GPs) treat all common medical conditions and refer patients to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment. They focus on the health of the whole person combining physical, psychological and social aspects of care.
Minor Injuries units - where available, minor injuries units can deal with minor injuries such as sprains and strains, broken bones, wound infections, minor burns and scalds, minor head injuries, insect and animal bits, minor eye injurie and injuries to the back, shoulder and chest. Some minor injuries units don't have the facilities to treat young children so it's worth checking in advance of turning up.
Emergency help - While it’s important not to use emergency services whenever you can avoid it, it’s also very important that you do know when to seek emergency treatment. NHS Choices provides some guidance here.
If you’re still not sure, try to make best use of any available advice and information you can access, including from friends and family or 111 or online - or Walk-in GP surgeries where available (see Emergency and Out of Hours on this website) and listen to your instinct in trying to make the best decision you can in the situation. Are you worrying unnecessarily and can afford to watch and wait or is this a situation that you feel needs urgent attention to avoid serious consequences?
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NON-EMERGENCY: Have a look at out "Get health information" page. Alternatively, call 111 for non-urgent medical advice.
MINOR INJURIES: We do not provide a minor injuries service. You should attend A&E or a local minor iunjuries unit. The LIVE WAITING times for these services are listed here.
EMERGENCY: Dial 999 or go to your nearest A&E Department (you must not dial 999 for anything other than an emergency)
If you do need to attend the emergency department at Torbay Hospital please read this leaflet.