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.
Phone 111 if you:
think you need to go to A&E but it’s not life threateningare too ill to wait for your GP practice to openhave 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.
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.
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 cuthave a minor burnhave a sprain or strainthink you have broken or fractured a bone
Visiting a MIU can often be quicker than going to A&E.
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:
coronavirus (COVID-19)fluminor head injuriespreventing fallseye problems (self-help guide)food poisoningmuscle, bone and jointsmental health (self-help guides)
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).
speak to your local pharmacy for advice about minor illnesses, treatments and medicationcontact your local optician if you have an eye problemuse our self-help guides for everyday illnessescontact your GP practice, optician or dentist by phone or online firstfollow physical distancing measures if you’re attending in person
do not visit your GP practice, optician or dentist without an appointmentdo not arrive too early or too late for your appointmentdo 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 stresswhere to get helpideas 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.
If you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, stay at home and arrange to be tested.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The most common symptoms are new:
continuous coughfever/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 hourhave had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hoursare 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.
You should follow our guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection.
Only phone NHS 24 on 111 if:
your symptoms worsen during home isolation, especially if you’re in a high or extremely high-risk groupbreathlessness develops or worsens, particularly if you’re in a high or extremely high-risk groupyour 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
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.