Should you go to A&E?

Before seeking medical care, please consider which service is most appropriate.

Get the right care from the right place. A&E is still open if you need emergency care. But many health issues can be handled online, on the phone, or at your local healthcare provider, saving you time and effort.

Help is available here for common symptoms, as well as guidance for self-help and advice on where to go if you need further medical care.

Self-help guides

Sometimes self-help can be the quickest way to resolve your health problem. NHS inform has self-help guides for a range of common conditions.

Visit our self-help guides

Phone NHS 24 on 111

If you're ill and feel it can't wait until your GP practice reopens, you can phone the NHS 24 service on 111.

Mental health

If you're feeling overwhelmed or need support you can call NHS 24 on 111, or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87. Breathing Space is open:

  • Monday - Thursday 6pm to 2am
  • Friday 6pm - Monday 6am

You can also call Samaritans on 116 123. They're open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Visit your local pharmacy

Your local pharmacy can help with repeat prescriptions and offer advice on minor illnesses like coughs, colds, sore throats, diarrhoea or constipation, indigestion, and aches and pains. They can also help with common conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs) and impetigo.

Using Scotland's Service Directory, you can find information on pharmacies near you.

Due to current guidance for preventing the spread of coronavirus, some pharmacies may have different opening times. If possible, we recommend that you contact the pharmacy before travelling there.

Contacting your GP practice

If you contact your GP practice, the service might be different to what you're used to as we work hard to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

After phoning your GP practice, you might be offered a telephone or video appointment. If you're asked to go to your GP practice for an appointment, you might notice staff wearing personal protective equipment like face masks. You might also be asked to follow additional hygiene measures.

Minor Injuries Units

Visit your local minor injuries unit for non-life threatening but painful injuries, like cuts, minor burns, sprains and strains, and suspected broken bones and fractures. 

You can use Scotland's Service Directory to find a Minor Injuries Unit near you.

Going to A&E or phoning 999

Please remember that A&E or phoning 999 are for emergencies only, such as severe injury, a suspected heart attack or stroke, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding.

If you do go to A&E, remember that measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus might mean that it's different to what you may have experienced before. You may be asked to attend alone, wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing. You may also be met at the front door and signposted to a more appropriate service to help keep you safe. 

You can use Scotland's Service Directory to find information on A&E and Minor Injury Units in your local area.

Worried about coronavirus?

If you're concerned you might have symptoms of coronavirus, visit

Use our self-help guide for coronavirus symptoms

Find out more about your symptoms, when you can use self-care, and what to do if your condition worsens and you need medical help.

Self-help guide: Coronavirus (COVID-19)