Is the Emergency Department the most appropriate place for your care?

Date: 03 January 2020


Like many other NHS Trusts in the Country, the Emergency Department at Medway Maritime Hospital is extremely busy. Some patients could have been treated more appropriately elsewhere. We would urge you to consider other more appropriate and quicker options before visiting the Emergency Department:

Call 111

If you feel you need to see a doctor outside of normal hours (eg, evening, weekend or bank holiday), call 111. Trained call handlers will assess your symptoms and put you directly in touch with the people who can help; for example, an out-of-hours doctor, a district nurse or an emergency dentist - or it may be something as simple as a 24 hour pharmacy.

You should use the NHS 111 service if you:

  • Need medical help, but it's not a 999 emergency
  • Don't know who to call for medical help or you don't have a GP to call
  • Require health information or reassurance about what to do next

Calls to 111 are free from landlines and mobile phones and the service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Speak to a Pharmacist

Your local pharmacy is a good place to start if you have a minor ailment such as a headache, cough or sore throat. Pharmacists are medically trained and can give you expert advice on medicines and how they work, as well as help you decide whether you need to see a doctor. You don't need an appointment or even to make a purchase and you can talk to them in a private consultation area and in confidence. Common complaints which can be treated at home with advice from the pharmacist include: Skin conditions such as mild acne and mild eczema; coughs and colds including nasal congestion and sore throat; aches and pains, such as headaches, earaches and backaches and diarrhea. Find out more about pharmacy services in Medway, here. 

Health Help Now

The free Health Help Now website and app enables you to check your symptoms and search for local health services in Kent and Medway. As well as recommending options for treatment, it will provide opening hours of pharmacies and walk-in centres, and provides maps and directions. Visit or the app store on your device. Further healthcare advice is also available at

Choosing the right service helps to reduce the pressure on emergency services and ensures that they are available for those who really need them.

Walk-in centres

You can find more information on the location and opening times of walk-in centres in the area here.

Your GP

Of course your GP will provide a range of services including medical advice, examinations, prescriptions and care for long term conditions, chronic pain and persistent symptoms. For out of hours help, call 111 or see the Health Help Now app above.

  • Summary:

    Like many other NHS Trusts in the Country, the Emergency Department at Medway Maritime Hospital is experiencing extremely high numbers of attendances. Some of these patients could have been treated more appropriately elsewhere.