Urgent & Emergency Care

Where to go for an illness or injury that requires immediate attention in an urgent or emergency situation.

Stomach ache

Know When to Get Help

Advice and support on common illnesses, injuries and emergencies

Urgent and emergency care services support patients in receiving the right care, by the right person, as quickly as possible.

To help relieve pressure on A&E departments, and to ensure patients get the right care, it is important to understand the difference between urgent and emergency care:

  • Urgent: An illness or injury that requires urgent attention but is not life-threatening
  • Emergency: Life threatening illnesses or accidents which require immediate, intensive treatment

With increasing pressure on emergency services, and as technology and the needs of the population change, the urgent and emergency care system must also change to ensure a service fit for the future. There are lots of options locally for accessing urgent and emergency care so it’s important to Know Where To Go and Choose Well.

Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs)

Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) are GP-led, open at least 12 hours a day, every day, and are equipped to diagnose and deal with many of the most common ailments people attend A&E for.

Often, you’ll be seen quicker at one of your three nearest UTCs than at A&E, and they offer treatment, advice, and information to adults and children from 12 months of age for a range of minor injuries and illnesses including:

  • Minor head and eye wounds
  • Sprains, strains and breaks to arms, lower legs, and feet
  • Minor head injuries with no loss of consciousness or penetrating injuries
  • Abscesses and bites
  • New cuts and wounds
  • Minor burns or scalds
  • Emergency contraception
  • Minor pregnancy issues

Our nearest UTCs

Appointments at UTCs can be booked through NHS 111 (www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111), or you can be referred by a GP. You can also turn up to a UTC without a pre-booked appointment, but you may wait longer to be seen.

UTCs aim to ease pressure on hospitals, leaving other parts of the system free to treat the most serious cases. Watch the short animation below to find out more about UTCs and how they can help.

NHS 111

NHS 111 allows people to get medical help online or over the phone 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. You can access the service online at www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 for free from a landline or mobile phone. 111 online should only be used for people aged 5 years and over.

Clinicians, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and paramedics, alongside call advisors offer advice and treatment for physical and mental health, without the need for patients to use another service such as a GP or Emergency Department.

If needed, NHS 111 can book patients into urgent treatment centres, emergency dental services, pharmacy, A&E, or another more appropriate local service – as well as send an ambulance should the patient’s condition be serious or life-threatening.

If you’re not sure where to go for help, contact NHS 111 who will be able to help.

Out of hours GP support

If you need medical support at the weekend or on a weekday evening between 8pm and 8am for something that means you might need to see a GP, please contact NHS 111 on www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 from any phone.

Through 111, and with the support of Portsmouth Primary Care Alliance, a doctor will call you back and, if you need to be seen, can book you an urgent appointment.



Pharmacies are a great first option for many minor illnesses and injuries with trained pharmacists who can recommend over-the-counter treatments and advise if they think you need additional clinical support.

Learn more about the seven minor illnesses here.

With most people living within easy reach of a pharmacy and many pharmacies offering extended opening hours in the evenings and at weekends, it is a fast and convenient way to access clinical advice with no appointment needed. More than 90% of pharmacies now also offer a private consultation room.

Parents and carers with children under the age of 5 are particularly encouraged to visit their local pharmacy team for clinical advice for minor health concerns such as throats, coughs, colds, upset stomach and teething.

Visit the NHS website to find your local pharmacy.

Watch the short video below to find out more about your local pharmacy teams.

Emergency Department

Our nearest Emergency Department is at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

It should only be used for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, persistent or severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.

If you are in a life-threatening situation, call 999 immediately.

Help for children and young people

If you need urgent but not emergency medical help for a young person aged 0-18, the Wessex Healthier Together website offers advice and clinical resources for parents, carers, young people and pregnant women.

The website includes clear information on common childhood illnesses including advice on:

  • What ‘red-flag’ signs to look for
  • Where to seek help if required
  • What you should do to keep your child comfortable
  • How long your child’s symptoms are likely to last

Mental health

If you need support for your mental health, there are local services that you can self-refer to for help. Visit our Mental Health page for a list of services available.