Your local health services
There is a huge range of health services in east and north Hertfordshire but people don't always know where to go when they fall ill. We want give you the information about the health services available and what they offer so that you can make the right choice for you. At the same time people want to know more about what they can do to look after their families’ and their own health.
Using the right health services is not only good for individuals but helps the NHS as a whole by making sure resources are used in the right way.
You've got a cold...do you pop to your local chemist and buy a pack of paracetamol or do you make an appointment to see your GP?
You've twisted your ankle...do you spend 4 hours in A&E or do you go to a minor injuries unit and be seen and treated within an hour?
Rule of thumb on what to do or where to go
- For colds and flu it is best to rest, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin.
- For 24-hour health advice ring NHS 111.
- You can also see a GP at:
- Urgent Care Centre, QEII Hospital, Howlands, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 4HQ 24/7
- If your GP surgery is closed, you can use the out of hours service by calling NHS 111.
- In a life-threatening emergency dial 999 or go to A&E.
Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. For conditions like backache, earache, coughs and colds, you are best off looking after yourself to begin with then seeking help if your condition doesn't improve.
Be prepared - keep a well stocked medicine cabinet
You can be prepared for most common illnesses and ailments by keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home. You can buy all the items you need from your local pharmacist or supermarket often at very little cost. You probably won’t need to keep all these items in your medicine cabinet “just in case” but you may want to include a selection of those you use most often.
We have produced a number of information sheets on how to take care of yourself for a number of common ailments.
|Bath Oils for Dry Skin Conditions||Moisturisers|
|Constipation||Muscle sprains and strains|
Ask your pharmacist
Visit your pharmacist (chemist) for advice on medicines or when you are suffering from common ailments that don't need to be seen by a nurse or doctor, such as coughs, colds, aches, pains and indigestion. More information on how your pharmacist can help is available on the Ask Your Pharmacist website from the National Pharmacy Association. Your local pharmacy can be found on NHS Choices.
In Hertfordshire we have several pharmacies that are open for long hours, 7 days a week, including bank holidays.
NHS111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
Call NHS111 if
- You need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency
- You don’t have a GP
- You need to access a GP but your surgery is closed
- You don’t know who to call
- You need health information or reassurance about what to do next
When you call NHS111, a team of fully trained healthcare advisors supported by clinical advisors is here to help you.
They will ask you questions to assess you and can also give you fast and easy access to a range of clinical staff if required, including GPs, nurses and prescribing pharmacists.
NHS111 can then direct you further to the local service which can help you best. This could be an Out of Hours doctor, a late-opening pharmacy or an urgent care centre.
Benefits of calling NHS111 when your GP is closed
- Get advice from a wide range of healthcare professionals including GPs, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and mental health staff
- No time spent waiting at A&E if your condition could be better treated elsewhere
- Your GP will receive a report of the service we provided for their records if you are happy for us to do so, making sure they are aware of any special help you might need
- Different healthcare services and providers are now connected, making it easier for you to get the help you need
- If you have complex needs, you could be given quicker access to the help you require
- You will be cared for in the right place for your health needs, ensuring you receive the right care for your condition
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/111.
If you have an illness that just won't go away make an appointment to see your GP or practice nurse or speak to them on the phone.
Many GPs in Hertfordshire now regularly open for longer and offer early morning, late evening or Saturday morning appointments for those people who find it difficult to get to their GP during usual opening hours.
Ask your practice manager for details or visit www.nhs.uk.
Minor Injuries (MIU)
Minor injuries units can treat injuries like sprains, cuts, grazes, bites, stings, burns and scalds.
Cheshunt Community Hospital
King Arthur Court
Open: 8am to 8pm, every day - last registration 7.30pm
X-ray facilities are available for minor injuries, but there is no facility to manage requests from GPs.
Can see adults and children aged one and over.
Herts and Essex Hospital
Open Monday to Friday 9am – last registration 4.30pm
Closed weekends and bank holidays
Phone: 01279 655191 ext 4298
Can see adults and children aged two and over.
St Albans City Hospital
Open 9am – 8pm, every day
X-rays 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday
Urgent Care Centre (UCC)
A new Urgent Care Centre is now available at the New QEII Hospital, Welwyn Garden City. No appointment is necessary and is open 24 hours every day, including weekends and bank holidays.
For the time being, the urgent care centre will not be able to see children between the hours of midnight and 8am.
Instead, parents can call NHS 111 which will direct you to the right service.
Adults who have a minor illness overnight should also call NHS 111 to receive advice or be directed to the most appropriate local service.
The Urgent Care Centre will treat:
- Muscle and joint injuries, such as strains, sprains, sudden back or neck pain, tendonitis and soft tissue injuries
- Suspected fractures and broken bones
- Bites, stings, cuts, bruises and grazes
- Burns and scalds
- Foreign bodies that are stuck in ears or noses
- Minor eye injuries
- Minor head injuries
Minor illnesses which would normally be treated by a GP, but which can’t wait until your GP practice is next open.
New QEII Hospital
Welwyn Garden City
There is also an Urgent Care Centre at Hemel Hempstead
Hemel Hempstead Hospital
Open 8am - 10pm, every day
A&E is for life-threatening situations such as a heart attack or stroke and for the care of people who show the symptoms of serious illness or who are badly injured. In an emergency dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
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