Feeling unwell?

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.

Feeling unwell?
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
Diarrhoea Pain
Hay Fever  

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 the NHS website.

In Hertfordshire we have several pharmacies that are open for long hours, 7 days a week, including bank holidays.

NHS 111
Call 111 when you need medical help, but it is not a life threatening emergency.

NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, wherever you are, whatever the time. Calls are answered by a team of highly trained advisors who are supported by experienced nurses. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, and give you the health care advice you need or direct you to the right local service. The NHS 111 team will, where possible, book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.

If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.

Calls to 111 are free from mobiles and landlines, 24 hours per day. For more information visit www.nhs.uk/111.

GP services
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.

If you need urgent GP assistance in the evening or at weekends please call NHS 111.

Minor Injuries
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
X-rays available: 9am to 6pm weekdays and 11am to 2pm weekends and bank holidays
Can see adults and children aged one and over.

Herts and Essex Hospital
Haymeads Lane
Bishop’s Stortford
CM23 5JH

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.

Urgent Care Centre
A new Urgent Care Centre is now available at the 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.

QEII Hospital
Welwyn Garden City


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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