Your guide to local health services in Harrow, Brent and Ealing

To help you get better as quickly as possible, it’s important to choose the right care in the right place for your needs. 

Remember your local pharmacist and GP are often the best people to visit in the first instance to get treated.

Here is a handy guide to help you choose the right care.

As well as making sure you get the best care, you will also help to free up our emergency department staff to treat patients with life-threatening conditions.

Self-care is about avoiding becoming ill, treating common illnesses at home and seeking help when you need it. It is also about managing any conditions you have in a way that puts you in control and improves your quality of life.

  • Get your free flu jab: The jab is free for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, people suffering from an underlying health condition, children aged two and three (on 31 August 2017), children in reception class and school years one, two, three and four and some carers of elderly or unwell people
  • Make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home: There’s no need to panic if you have a minor cut, a headache, a cough or cold, or a splinter. You can treat these things quickly and easily in the comfort of your own home as long as you are prepared
  • Keep warm, keep well: It is important to keep your house warm, at least 18 degrees celsius (64.4 degrees fahrenheit) if you or anyone staying with you is over 65. Keeping warm helps reduce risk of cold and flu, heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and even depression

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. The free telephone number is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is staffed with trained medical advisers. They will ask you some questions then direct you to the right service for your need.

Your local pharmacist, or chemist, is highly trained. They can offer advice and suggest medicines or treatments for many common problems such as headaches, stomach problems, coughs, and colds. Some pharmacists can also give out flu vaccinations. 

GPs have more contact with patients than any other service in the NHS. GPs have access to your medical records so they can see all your health needs.

When you see your GP they can:

  • Provide advice on physical and mental health problems
  • Provide diagnosis and treatment for a range of conditions
  • Help you with long-term care
  • Arrange referrals to hospital specialists, community-based services, or other GPs when necessary

You will find that many additional services, previously provided only in hospital, can now be delivered by a GP, which means you don’t need to go to hospital for care such as blood tests, wound care, and some diabetes treatments.

Need to see a GP or nurse in the evening or at the weekend?

Evening and weekend GP appointments are available to book near you. Residents can access GP and practice nurse appointments from 6.30-8pm (6-9pm in Brent, Kensington and Chelsea, Queen’s Park and Paddington), Monday to Friday and from 8am-8pm on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

You can access these extended appointments by calling your GP or calling NHS 111 when your GP is closed.

Registering with a GP

It is very important to be registered with a GP. Make sure you are registered with a GP so that you can make an appointment in future if you need to. Being registered with a GP also means you can get referred to specialist hospital and community treatment if you need it.

For more information on how to register, please visit www.nhs.uk 

If you need to speak to someone about your mental health, the best place to start is with your GP. They can offer you initial advice on how to deal with any symptoms you are experiencing and talk to you about available treatment or support services in your area.

In an emergency

For help in a mental health crisis, please call:

  • Harrow and Brent: 0800 0234 650 (24/7)
  • Ealing: 030 0123 4244 (24/7)

If you or somebody else is in immediate life-threatening danger ring 999.

It is strongly recommended that you have a regular dentist. Children should be registered with a dentist by their first birthday.

Having a regular NHS dentist means they will be able to provide information and advice specific to your needs on what to do if you need dental care out of hours.

If you need urgent out of hours dental care, you can contact NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk for details of out of hours dental services near you.

Urgent Care Centres, also known as UCCs, and Walk-in Centres are not the same as emergency care. They are there to treat minor injuries or illnesses requiring immediate care, but not serious enough to require a visit to the A&E department.

They can treat:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Minor broken bones
  • Minor wound infections
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Minor head injuries
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Injuries to the back shoulder and chest

You do not need an appointment. Just walk in and you will be seen by an experienced nurse or a GP. On arrival you will be assessed and treated in order of the priority of your condition.

Find your nearest UCC or Walk-in Centre at www.nhs.uk 

In A&E you will be seen by specialist doctors and nurses ready to treat those with serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The A&E at hospital is for people with serious or life-threatening illnesses and injuries, which can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Persistent, severe chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties and choking
  • Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • Having fits
  • Severe broken bones or burns

In an emergency, dial 999. An ambulance crew will start treating you as soon as they arrive and they will then take you to the right hospital for your condition, to ensure you get the best possible treatment.