Using health services correctly - what to use and when

With the variety of healthcare services ranging from self care to A&E, it can sometimes be confusing as to which health service you should use when.

When to use self care

Self care refers to taking action to ensure you maintain or improve your health. Stock up your medicine cabinet with medicines from either your local supermarket or pharmacist so you can take care of yourself. In the event you have any of the following you should administer self care:

  • Minor cuts and grazes
  • Bruises and minor sprains
  • Coughs and colds

When to speak to someone at the pharmacy

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals and can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses. If you have any of the following then go speak to a pharmacist:

  • Minor illnesses
  • Headaches
  • Stomach upsets
  • Bites and stings

When to call the NHS 111 helpline

The National Health Service or NHS have a helpline. Call 111 on your phone or mobile and you can speak to a healthcare adviser who will then direct you to the appropriate services relevant to your condition. If you're calling out of usual working hours for example on the weekend, you can call this number in place of seeing a GP and they can recommend your nearest walk in clinic. Call 111 in the event of the following:

  • Feeling unwell
  • Anxious
  • Feeling unsure and have questions about symptoms you may be experiencing

When to seek advice from a GP

A GP or General Practitioner is the same as a Doctor. If you need an operation they can refer you on. You need to be registered at your local surgery in order to see a GP so it's vital that you register. UCL's local surgery is the Ridgmount Practice. Visit the GP if you have the following symptoms:

  • Persistent symptoms
  • Chronic pain
  • Long term conditions

When to visit A&E

A&E or Accident and Emergency deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies. If you experience any of the following then go straight to your local A&E department or call 999: (If you are unable to do either try and get someone near you to call 999 for you).

  • Choking
  • Chest pains
  • Blacking out
  • Serious blood loss

U'n'I Health and Wellbeing

U'n'I Health and Wellbeing is a campaign which has seen UCL, UAL, the University of London and Birkbeck Univeristy partner up with local NHS and charitable organisations to better support students to access health and care services.

Below are some specific health areas you may wish to find out more about: