Advice when services are busy

Sometimes the local NHS may let you know that services are experiencing higher demand than normal. On this page you will find the latest advice about how to get the right care as quickly as possible. 

Continue to seek medical help if you need it

  • Even if the NHS is busy, it is really important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal, especially in emergency and life-threatening cases – when someone is seriously ill or injured, or their life is at risk.
  • If you have a medical appointment and we have not contacted you, please attend your appointment as planned. The NHS will contact you if your appointment needs to be rescheduled.

If it's urgent

Use NHS 111 Online before travelling to services to help you get the right care as quickly as possible.

They can:

  • tell you where to get help for your symptoms
  • direct you to urgent treatment centres/ walk in centres, GPs, pharmacies, emergency dental services, or other more appropriate local services – and book you an appointment.
  • direct you to where you can get emergency supplies of your prescribed medicines, and
  • provide general health information and advice.


They can help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

  • Visit NHS111 Online at 111.nhs.uk
  • If you do not have access to a computer or smartphone, you can call NHS 111 where a fully trained adviser will advise on the best course of action.
  • If you have hearing loss, are Deaf or have difficulties communicating you can also access NHS 111 by textphone on 18001 111 and British Sign Language (BSL) users can use the NHS 111 BSL interpreter service.


For life-threatening illnesses or injuries, you should always dial 999.

In Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland there are several urgent care services for when you need to be seen quickly, but it isn’t life threatening. When you use NHS 111, they may book an appointment for you here, if appropriate for your condition. In some cases you might not need an appointment but you are advised to use NHS 111 first to make sure it is the right place for you and to keep your waiting time to a minimum.

Urgent mental health support

  • Call the Mental Health Central Access Point on freephone 0808 800 3302, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Visit a crisis cafe  You can find out more about Crisis Cafés here.

For minor illnesses and injuries

You can get advice about treating many minor ailments yourself using:

  • The NHS App for health advice on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Your local pharmacy for convenient health advice or over-the-counter medicines, in your local area.
  • NHS 111 Online for general information or advice for your specific symptoms.