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When to use which NHS service

If you're unsure when to use which part of the NHS, please read the following quick reference guide.

Self care

Keep your medicine cupboard stocked with the basics, such as paracetamol, plasters, antiseptic cream and remedies for sore throats, colds and flu.  Make sure you check that all medication is stored safely out of reach of children and that it is in date. 

Antibiotics do not work on coughs and colds.  Keep warm and drink plenty of fluids.

Your local pharmacist

Pharmacies can supply a range of over the counter medications and often save you a visit to the GP.


Call us if you have a problem which won't get better on its own, or that is getting worse or if you have something which is sudden and serious.  GPs can refer you to specialists in secondary care (hospitals) if necessary, but you have to see your GP first. 

GPs also look after people with ongoing problems, such as diabetes, heart disease or respiratory disease.  This saves patients from repeated visits to consultants in hospitals and normally means that people are treated closer to their homes.


When the surgery is closed, if you have an urgent problem which can't wait until we're next open, call 111 (Typetalk 18001 111).


In an emergency, such as chest pains or severe breathing difficulties, dial 999 for an ambulance.

For more information, please see NHS Lincolnshire's website for advice 

Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website