Skip to main content

Right care right place

The way we access urgent care has changed. To protect us and the NHS, it’s important you know how to get the right care, in the right place.

If we all use NHS services wisely, we can keep well and get the care we need quickly, safely and as close to home as possible.

Phone NHS 24 on 111 for urgent care

If you think you need to visit A&E but it's not life threatening, you can phone NHS 24 on 111, day or night.

Non-urgent advice: Phone 111 if you:

  • think you need to go to A&E but it's not life threatening
  • are too ill to wait for your GP practice to open
  • have worsening symptoms of coronavirus

NHS 24 will help you get the right care in the right place, often closer to home and without the need to go to A&E. This may include a phone or video consultation.

Or, you can still contact your GP practice during opening hours.

If it's a life threatening emergency, you should phone 999 or go directly to A&E.

Different ways to access NHS 24 on 111

You can access urgent care from NHS 24 on 111 in different ways.

Language Line

If English isn't your first or preferred language, you can use the free interpretation service Language Line.

British Sign Language (BSL)

If you use British Sign Language (BSL), you can use the free BSL interpreting video relay service contactSCOTLAND-BSL.

More information about Right care right place in BSL.

Relay UK

If you use a textphone you can contact NHS 24 on 18001 111.

Or, you can contact NHS 24 with the Relay UK app.

Minor Injuries Unit (MIU)

If you think you need to visit a MIU, you should call NHS 24 on 111. NHS 24 will direct you to the best care for your needs. A MIU can help if you:

  • have a cut
  • have a minor burn
  • have a sprain or strain
  • think you have broken or fractured a bone

Visiting a MIU can often be quicker than going to A&E.

NHS inform

We provide accurate and reliable health information to help you make informed decisions.

We have advice on common symptoms, a range of self-help guides and information on where to go if you need further medical care.

You can access our information on topics such as:

Community health care services

The way we access community health care services has also changed due to coronavirus. Community health care services include pharmacies, GP practices, dentists and optometrists (opticians).

Do

  • speak to your local pharmacy for advice about minor illnesses, treatments and medication
  • contact your local optician if you have an eye problem
  • use our self-help guides for everyday illnesses
  • contact your GP practice, optician or dentist by phone or online first
  • follow physical distancing measures if you're attending in person

Don't

  • do not visit your GP practice, optician or dentist without an appointment
  • do not arrive too early or too late for your appointment
  • do not attend in person if you, or someone you live with, have symptoms of coronavirus

If you are isolating and have a non-covid health concern which cannot wait until your isolation time period ends, please contact your GP practice, local hospital or outpatient service to discuss what actions you should take.

Read further information about changes to community health care services

Mental health support

Our mental health resources include:

  • advice on dealing with low mood, anxiety, phobias and stress
  • where to get help
  • ideas for improving your wellbeing

If you're struggling with your mental health or need emotional support, you can phone Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87. Breathing Space is available on weekdays from 6.00pm to 2.00am and at weekends from Friday 6.00pm to Monday 6.00am.

For urgent mental health support, phone NHS 24 on 111, day or night.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, stay at home for 10 days from the start of your symptoms and arrange to be tested.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The most common symptoms are new:

  • continuous cough
  • fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

Your household should isolate for 10 days from the start of your symptoms.

Only phone NHS 24 on 111 if:

  • your symptoms worsen during home isolation, especially if you’re in a high or extremely high-risk group
  • breathlessness develops or worsens, particularly if you’re in a high or extremely high-risk group
  • your symptoms haven’t improved in 10 days

Coronavirus (COVID-19): General advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection

Protect Scotland app

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

Scotland's Service Directory

If you need help to find the right care in the right place, use Scotland’s Service Directory. It has the names, addresses, opening times and service details for a wide range of NHS services in Scotland.