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What to do or where to go when you and your family become unexpectedly injured or unwell

Depending on the severity of your illness or injury, there are a number of places you and your family can go to access treatment or health advice. This guide will help you to receive treatment fast, leaving emergency services to those who need them most.   A copy of the leaflet Don't just go to A&E can be downloaded from the left hand menu.


Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries, for example, coughs and colds, grazes and hangovers.

A range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home, simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet and ensuring you get plenty of rest.

Make sure that your medicine cabinet is well stocked with:

  • Paracetamol
  • A thermometer
  • Antihistamines
  • Aspirin
  • Rehydration mixture
  • Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • Plasters
  • Indigestion remedies



Your pharmacist is a healthcare professional who can provide advice and treatment for common conditions such as diarrhoea, sore throats, painful coughs, upset stomach and skin conditions. Pharmacists also dispense prescriptions.

If you need advice on how you can treat yourself or have a question about your medication, visit your local pharmacist.

Free emergency contraception is also available from some local pharmacies in Bexley. 

GP practice

If you have a medical problem that is not life-threatening – for example back ache, ear pain and high temperature – visit your family doctor.

Your GP provides a range of services by appointment and will be able to assess your immediate needs as well as refer you into a specialist service, such as outpatients, if necessary. They also know your medical history so are best placed to manage your care.

NHS 111

If your GP practice is closed, call the NHS 111 service by dialling 111.

NHS 111 may:

  • Give medical advice over the phone, for example, you may be asked to go to a 24-hour chemist, or advised to wait until your doctor’s surgery is open in the morning
  • Direct you to an out-of-hours doctor’s service. Depending on your condition, the doctor will either visit you at home, or ask you to attend the urgent care centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital, where a doctor will be expecting you.
  • Ask you to attend the urgent care centre at Queen Mary’s Hospital or Erith Hospital, where a team of healthcare professionals will be able to treat you
  • Direct you to an accident and emergency department – but this will only happen if your illness or injury is life-threatening or very serious

Urgent Care Centres (UCCs)

If you have a minor injury or medical problem that is urgent but not life threatening, visit the UCC at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup or the UCC at Erith Hospital.

The types of illnesses and injuries both UCCs can treat includes, but is not limited to:

  • Broken bones, sprains and strains
  • Minor head injuries
  • Burns and scalds
  • Bites and stings
  • Minor chest, neck and back injuries or pain
  • Foreign objects in wounds or other parts of the body
  • Infections including wounds
  • Minor eye injuries

Visit the UCC, A-block, Queen Mary’s Hospital, (Frognal Avenue, Sidcup, Kent DA14 6LT) open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or the UCC at Erith Hospital, (Park Crescent, Erith, Kent DA8 3EE - car park is accessed from Hind Crescent opposite the junction with Ling Road) providing the same services as the UCC at Queen Mary’s Hospital, from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.

Accident and emergency departments

Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation. A&E departments provide immediate emergency care for people with very serious or life-threatening illness.

For emergency healthcare help, dial 999 or go immediately to your nearest A&E department.

  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Stadium Road, Woolwich, London SE18 4QH
  • Darent Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford, Kent DA2 8DA
  • Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough Common, Kent BR6 8ND