How to continue using NHS services during the Coronavirus outbreak

While we need to be mindful of the pressure the NHS is under, it is important to keep taking care of our health and access care when necessary.
A wall chart with directions in a hospital

We are all mindful of the current pressure our NHS is under. So knowing what to do when we, our families and friends are unwell with non-Coronavirus symptoms is something we need to talk about.

If you have general health problems or concerns, it is really important that you  continue to seek medical advice when you need to. And remember in a life threatening emergency, you should still call 999 . People are still getting unwell and are still having accidents. Our NHS is working hard to operate as ‘normal’ and is doing everything it can to continue to keep you safe.

GP practices

GP practices are still open, with most offering telephone or video consultations to ensure that you are able to get the care you need and stay safe. If you have a problem that you usually would have seen your GP about, give them a call.

Dental practices

All NHS dental practices are expected to be providing urgent telephone advice and triage. Anyone with a regular dentist should, as a first step, call their practice. Patients should not visit the practice. The dentist will assess the patient’s condition, give advice, and if needed, issue prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics which can then be collected from, or delivered by a local pharmacy.

If, following triage by a dentist, the patient is assessed as requiring an urgent face-to face treatment, they will be directed to ring 111 where they will be triaged by the Dental Triage service. Following assessment by the Dental Triage Service, if the patient needs an onward referral, this will be made to one of the Urgent Dental Care Hubs in North Central London.

You can find more information on the North London Partners in Health and Care website.


In addition, Pharmacies are still open and operating with social distancing rules to continue to give you information and advice in a safe environment. You can find your local pharmacy on the NHS UK website.

Consider contacting services by emailing them or going on their website if you can, if you can’t get through on the phone.

NHS 111

NHS 111 has a great online service where you can get information and help without even phoning them; but if you want to phone them you can still phone 111 at any time of the day.

Ambulance services and A&E

Ambulance services and A&E units are still operating and will continue to provide you with emergency care in a safe environment.

In order to keep services safe, there may be changes to where you need to go to receive emergency care and the best way to keep updated is to check your local hospitals website before you visit. Keep an eye on our ‘visiting local health services’ web page to keep updated on local service changes.

Advice for parents

The Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health have published a useful leaflet about what to do if your child becomes unwell. Click on the image to download a copy for you to save and share with family and friends.


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