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Choose Well

If you become unwell or are injured make sure you choose the right NHS service to make sure you get the best treatment. It explains what each NHS service does, and when it should be used.

Choosing Well means that you and your family will get the best treatment. It also allows busy NHS services to help the people who need them most.

How can I choose well?

Take some time to find out more about the variety of healthcare services that are available to you and what they can offer:

Emergency Department (A&E) or 999

Emergency Departments (A&E) are found at most hospitals. They help people who show signs of being very ill or are badly injured.

If you telephone 999 and tell the operator that there is a medical emergency, a response vehicle will be sent to your location.

When and Why?

Emergency services are very busy and are getting busier. They should only be used in very serious or life-threatening situations. Choosing Well ensures that essential treatment is given, in the shortest possible time.

Emergency Departments

NHS Minor Injuries Unit

They can treat minor illnesses and injuries and give you health advice. Most are open from early in the morning until late at night. You do not need an appointment, and you will be seen by an experienced nurse or a GP.

When and Why?

If you need medical treatment or advice which does not need a visit to an Emergency Department (A&E) or a medical appointment. Choosing Well ensures you receive the best possible treatment, leaving emergency services to those who need them most.

Minor Injuries Units

GP or Out of Hours Services

GP surgeries can be found locally across Wales. You can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations, and prescriptions.

In an emergency, a GP can also visit your home outside of opening hours—if you need this service telephone your local surgery and follow the recorded instructions.

When and Why?

Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness or injury that will not go away. Choosing Well ensures that you get the treatment you need, and reduces the demand on emergency services.


Eye Care or Dentists

Eye care and dental problems are dealt with by optometrists and dentists, which are found locally across Wales. You can make an appointment to see an optometrist or dentist for advice or an examination.

When and Why?

For advice if you have an eye problem that needs urgent attention, contact a local optometrist.

If you are not registered with a dentist and need urgent treatment, you can call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 to find out about emergency dental clinics. Search for Dental Clinics


Chemists or Pharmacies can be found in local areas across Wales. Your local chemist can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them.

When and Why?

Visit your local chemist when you are suffering from a common health problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor.

Choosing Well ensures you get the treatment you need in the shortest possible time, reducing the pressure on essential NHS services.


Sexual Health Services

Sexual health services cover a range of provisions including fertility treatment, family planning, early pregnancy units, GUM/integrated sexual health clinics and young people’s services. Sexual health clinics specialise in sexual health, and offer tests and treatments for many sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Getting tested and treated for STIs is straightforward and confidential.

When and Why?

You can make an appointment to go to a sexual health clinic, or sometimes there’s a drop-in clinic, where no appointment is needed. You can go to a sexual health clinic, whatever age you are, whether you have STI symptoms or not. You might feel embarrassed but there’s no need, the staff at these clinics are used to testing for all kinds of infections. It’s their job, and they won’t judge you. If you're under 16, the service is still confidential and the clinic won't tell your parents. Search for Sexual Health Clinics

NHS Direct Wales

NHS Direct Wales offers confidential health advice and information by telephone and on the Internet 24 hours a day.

When and Why?

Contact NHS Direct Wales if you are ill and have any questions about health. The service can also help you to find health services in your local area.

Choosing Well ensures you get expert advice in the shortest possible time, meaning busy NHS services can help those who need them most.

NHS Direct Wales


A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the counter medicine and getting plenty of rest.

When and Why?

Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.

Choosing Well ensures you receive the rest and recovery you need, meaning busy NHS services can help those who need them most.

More information on self-care

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