Where to go for help

Where to go for help graphic

There are times when our emergency departments are very busy. Please help us to help you, and consider alternative services if you do not have a life-threatening illness or injury. We ask that, when using our emergency departments, you treat our people with respect and kindness at all times.

Is the Emergency Department the right place for you?

Please remember that the emergency department (A&E) is for patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries. If you do not have serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries, there are a range of services available for you.

Please consider using the Minor Injuries Unit at Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop's Stortford, which offers an alternative to A&E for patients with minor injuries.

NHS 111

Please call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk for advice about which service is best for your needs. Their trained advisers can connect you to healthcare professionals, including booking face-to-face appointments if required. They may direct you to services such as an Urgent Treatment CentreGP or pharmacy.

Urgent Treatment Centres

Urgent Treatment Centres treat many urgent minor injuries and illnesses. This includes broken limbs, strains and sprains, cuts and grazes, bites and stings, scalds and burns, and minor head injuries. 

Urgent minor illness services treat issues such as ear, throat or skin infections and the exacerbation of long-term conditions.

Your local GP surgery

Your local GP surgery provides a wide range of services. They give advice about your health, carry out examinations, give treatment and vaccinations, prescribe medicine and refer you to other health or social services.

If your GP cannot treat your problem, you will usually be referred to the hospital for tests, treatment, or to see a consultant with specialist knowledge.


Your local pharmacy team offers you advice on many problems, including coughs, colds, aches and pains. They can also help you decide if you need to see your GP.

You can talk to your pharmacist in confidence and you don't need to make an appointment. Most pharmacies now have private consultation rooms where you can meet with a member of the pharmacy team.

Many pharmacies are now open for extended hours, when other services may not be available – this includes some opening late into the evening, on Sundays and bank holidays. 

You can find your nearest pharmacy here.

Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.