There are many forms of injury and illness, these scale from manageable to severe in terms of treatment required. It's important to know what to do first, this will ensure you get the most effective treatment as quickly as possible. It will also help to speed up the rate NHS doctors can treat patients.


The NHS encourages people to only go to a Pharmacy/Hospital if necessary, providing you have the correct medicine and antibiotics stored at home to take care of yourself. However, if you are worried about a persistent symptom it's always better to see or call someone. 

NHS 111:

The 111 line (previously known as NHS direct) is a 24/7 emergency helpline, is manned by a team of fully trained advisors, who are qualified to:

  • Give you self-care advice
  • Connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or GP
  • Book you a face-to-face appointment
  • Send an ambulance directly, if necessary
  • Direct you to the local service that can help you best with your concern

To learn more about the 111 line, click here


Your local pharmacy will provide you with drugs and medicine that has been prescribed to you by a GP or doctor. Pharmacists are also qualified to advise you on the best drugs to take dependant on conditions give them to you over the counter. To find your local pharmacy, simply type "pharmacy" into your search engine. They can also often help you over the phone. You can also ask a pharmacist for help for someone else's medical condition if you are a friend or relative if you know their symptoms you can pick up medicine on their behalf, you may need to prove you know them, this can be done via a phone call or text messages. 

GP surgery:

A general practitioner (GP) is a doctor who doesn't specialise in a single area of medicine but has a very broad knowledge of healthcare, this allows them to be able to pick up on early symptoms and diagnose a patient. From this, a GP can:

  • Give you on the spot diagnosis and treatment
  • Send you to a pharmacist to be prescribed drugs
  • Refer you to a hospital/ specialist 

To book an appointment with your GP you will need to either phone in or visit their website. Many GP surgeries do telephone triage, this is where a doctor or nurse will call you when they are free and ask you questions and decide whether you need to come in and see them or whether another course of action will be more appropriate. 

999 and A&E:

Alternatively, in the event of a life-threatening emergency, you will need to call 999 (Steps to take when you call 999). After you have successfully identified a medical emergency and called 999, you will be connected to a trained call handler, who will talk you through what to do. Make sure you listen very carefully and answer all the questions you are asked, make sure you stay on the phone, an operator may still need to ask you additional questions. From here a medical emergency will be taken to A&E, this is where life-threatening accidents and conditions are dealt with. If you arrive by ambulance you will be transported into the appropriate place as onboard crews will already have assessed you, but you can also go to A&E by yourself if necessary from you will be assessed by a doctor or nurse who will decide the best place for you to go. Read more about how to deal with an emergency situation here.

So how does MedicAlert help?

A MedicAlert membership will help you through many of these medical steps. Having unlimited and immediate access to your can be very useful whilst visiting a Pharmacy or a GP surgery, as it will make it a lot easier to show them what conditions you have and what treatment you take.

A MedicAlert membership can also help you in an emergency situation, paramedics are trained to look for our medical ID jewellery, once it is discovered they will be able to recognise your medical conditions and decide what the best course of action is to help you as safely and effectively as possible.

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