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Accessing healthcare this Christmas and New Year

Winter is always a busy time for our urgent and emergency services, particularly over Christmas and New Year when we tend to see a higher number of patients with a range complex conditions.

We want to reassure you that our doors are open 24/7 to anyone in need of emergency care but it’s important that you choose the right NHS service for your needs.

If you think you need A&E, contact NHS 111 online first.

You can often be treated more quickly outside of hospital, with the right self-care or a visit to your local pharmacy. In doing so, you are also protecting our emergency services for those most in need.

We also want to encourage you to seek help early on, don’t wait until you become seriously unwell.

What service should I use?

Use NHS 111 if you have an urgent medical problem or if you are not sure what to do

If you think you need A&E, contact NHS 111 online first.

NHS 111 is an easy way to get the right help, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, either online on the NHS 111 website or over the phone.

If you have an urgent health problem, please go straight to NHS 111 in the first instance, instead of worrying, self-diagnosing or second-guessing what you should do.

NHS 111 advisors will ask you a series of questions, before directing you to a local NHS service – this could be connecting you to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP.

NHS 111 can also arrange a timed arrival slot for you to be treated in our Urgent Treatment Centre if needed so you can wait at home and they can also offer advice on self-care.


Minor injuries such as cuts, grazes, bruises, a sprain, a cough or a cold can often be managed at home in the first instance, with a well-stocked medicine cabinet.

It’s worth keeping a few handy medicines and treatments at home for when you might need them such as painkillers, cough and cold remedies, decongestants, indigestion tablets and a first aid kit.

If you’re not sure, head to or speak to your pharmacist for advice.


If you need medical help in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year, don’t wait and worry. Head to your local pharmacy for quick expert advice.

Pharmacists can offer clinical advice for a range of health problems, over-the-counter medicine and will advise if you need to access another NHS service.

This may save you a trip to your GP surgery – you don’t need an appointment and you can speak in a private area.

Some but not all community pharmacies will be open during the holiday period.

Search ‘find a pharmacy NHS’ online to find an open pharmacy near you.


Many GP practices will have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year, so it’s important to plan ahead and ensure your prescriptions and medications are sorted out early on.

Search ‘find a GP NHS’ online to find an open GP near you.

If your GP is closed, head to or call 111 for urgent healthcare advice.

Swindon’s children’s and young people clinic

Children and young people aged 2-17 years old who are unwell should call 01793 709505 for a quick assessment over the phone. Using this service can save you a trip to your GP surgery.

Where needed, you will be invited in for a face-to-face appointment at the clinic based in Taw Hill Medical Centre, SN25 1UH.

This service is open from Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm, and is led by an experienced team of GPs and Advanced Clinical Practitioners.

Urgent Treatment Centre

The Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) is based at the Great Western Hospital and provides care for urgent, but not life-threatening conditions.

Please seek advice from NHS 111 first before attending the UTC. NHS 111 can book you a timed arrival slot to attend the department so you can wait at home.

Call 999 or visit the Emergency Department

In a life-threatening emergency, call 999 or visit the Emergency Department.

Please see Emergency Department and Urgent Treatment Centre.


Please see Maps and directions.

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