Choosing the right care

It’s important we all use health services in the right way at the right time to make sure there is capacity in the system to treat people when they need it.

This is especially important as we are now providing care for more people in the area.



Our Health Help Now website and app can help you understand where to go for treatment. It is free and is also time sensitive, which means it will tell you what services are open at the specific time you search. It also works on location, so will tell you the nearest services.

It includes information on specific ailments so can advise the most appropriate place for you to go.

NHS 111 offers similar advice and you can access it by simply dialing 111 to ask for health advice. This is a 24/7 service so can be used at any time of day, even in an emergency. If you can’t speak good English, NHS 111 will be able to provide an interpreter.

Many people head straight to A&E when they injure themselves, but A&E is designed for life threatening emergencies. Often you will be seen sooner and get more timely advice if you visit another NHS service such as a pharmacy, GP, minor injury unit or walk in centre.

If you need to see a GP and can’t get an appointment with your own GP, you can see another at the same practice. If no appointments are available and you feel you need to be seen urgently, ask for an urgent appointment. Many practices reserve appointments specifically for on the day emergencies.

If there are definitely no appointments, instead of heading to A&E, visit your local walk in centre where you can simply turn up, book in, and sit and wait to see a GP.

If you have a minor ailment, a local pharmacist will be able to advise you on what medicine you might need, and is trained to give advice.

Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who offer free advice on health issues, including common complaints such as coughs and colds, flu, sore throats, earache, backache, stomach upsets and cuts and grazes.

You can often treat yourself at home for minor ailments and the pharmacist can advise what medicines you should keep at home so that you can do this.

We recommend everyone keeps the following at home in a safe place away from small children:

If you injure yourself and it isn’t a life threatening emergency (eg excessive bleeding or a complicated broken bone that is exposed through the skin) you can visit a minor injury unit.

Further help and advice on common problems can be found below:


Colds and flu

Coughs, colds, and ear infections in children

Falls prevention

Sore throat

Vomiting in children and babies

Winter vomiting disease

To find out about health care interventions and referral and treatment criteria click on the link below.

Kent and Medway CCGs Schedule of policy