Choose Well

Research shows that many people (40 per cent) who use Norwich’s A&E have minor health problems that could be dealt with by other local NHS services.

Some Myths about Accident and Emergency Services

Accident and Emergency is an alternative to your GP. FALSE

It is not appropriate to go to Accident and Emergency as an alternative to your GP. You could visit your local NHS Walk In Centre instead (listed in your phone book).

Calling 999 for an ambulance gets you to the top of the accident and emergency queue. FALSE

Patients are seen based on medical need, not who gets to the hospital first.

All injuries need x-rays. FALSE

The doctor or nurse will be able to assess, on examining you, whether an x-ray is appropriate or not. In many cases x-rays are not needed.

Accident and Emergency doctors are more expert at dealing with medical problems than your GP. FALSE

Your GP is an expert in general medicine. Accident and Emergency doctors are specialists in accidents and emergencies.

Taking pain relief before being seen by a doctor will ‘mask’ the symptoms of the injury. FALSE

One of the first things that is often done by doctors is to give you a simple painkiller like paracetamol. It is quite safe to take these before you get medical advice. Taking pain relief to treat minor injuries is the best way to make you feel better quickly and is an effective treatment. Always follow the instructions on the packet.

What’s an emergency?

An emergency is ‘a critical or life-threatening situation’. Here are some examples:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Heavy blood loss
  • Suspected broken bones
  • A deep wound such as a stab wound
  • A suspected heart attack
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Severe burns
  • Severe allergic reaction

Remember, A&E is designed for life-threatening health problems. So, do you really need to go to A&E?

Please see the advice about getting the right treatment from the NHS listed below.

Self Care

A well stocked medicine cabinet will help you treat many everyday illnesses at home


Pharmacists (sometimes called Chemists) can offer advice on medicines and how to take them. They can also offer advice on common complaints such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, and other health issues, such as healthy eating and giving up smoking. You can talk to your pharmacists in confidence – even about the most personal symptoms. Most pharmacies now have quiet area away from other customers where you can speak to the pharmacist more privately.

NHS 111

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation.

Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

Your GP Surgery

Your local GP surgery provides range of services including:

  • general medical advice and treatment;
  • prescriptions;
  • referral to specialist or hospital;
  • immunisations; and tests.

Emergency Dental Treatment

If you have dental pain and need advice or treatment during the evening, at a weekend or a public holiday contact NHS 111 for information by dialling 111. You will be able to get advice on pain relief or an appointment will be made for you to see an emergency dental practitioner within 24 hours.

Norwich Walk-in Centre

Norwich has a GP-led Health Centre that offers  walk-in, fast and convenient access to healthcare advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses. The Norwich Walk-in Centre is open from 08:00 until 20:00, 7 days a week, and you do not need an appointment.

  • No need to register and free of charge
    • Open 365 days a year
    • Extra health services on site including blood testing

Norwich Walk-in Centre:  Rouen House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RB

Open 8am–8pm, seven-days-a-week, 365 days a year.
Phone:  01603 677500 

For more information, go to:

Minor Injuries Unit – Cromer

For people in North Norfolk, our Trust operates a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Cromer & District Hospital and it is open from 08:00 to 20:00, seven days week.

It is run by Emergency Nurse Practitioners who are trained in emergency care and the unit can treat patients with minor injuries.

Accident and Emergency/999

When it comes to your health or the health of someone in your family, it is often very obvious if the person is seriously ill and needs emergency care. You should get medical attention by either taking the patient to Accident and Emergency (A&E) or by phoning 999 for an emergency ambulance.