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Which service is best for me?

Managing your health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the coronavirus pandemic local health services are still there for you. They will be changing how they operate to protects patients and staff. It is important that you if you are ill and you need guidance and advice you still contact the services as you would normally do.

For the up to date advice on the coronavirus, including symptom checkers and what to do if you feel unwell visit the NHS website.

Healthier Together - for parents, families and carers of young children

A new locally developed website is now available for parents, families and carers to access accurate, quality, local health information to help you manage health, symptoms and when to access health services.


Guide to local Barnsley services - Choose Well

The Choose Well guide helps you select the most appropriate NHS service if you become ill or are injured. Choose well can be used whenever you need help, so that you can judge the best place to go for help and reduce pressures on NHS services.

Self Care

A lot of illnesses or symptoms, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated in your own home by using a well stocked medicine cabinet, eating well and by getting plenty of rest.

Some self-care essentials:

Stock your medicine cabinet with:

  • paracetamol 
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • re-hydration mixtures
  • indigestion remedies
  • plasters
  • thermometer.

When and why?

Self Care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries. Your local pharmacist can advise on useful items for your medicine cabinet. Use the online service directory to find your local Barnsley pharmacy.

Pharmacy First

Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional, and can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them.

Barnsley has a Pharmacyfirst scheme which means that you can get advice and/or medicines for common, minor illnesses from a local pharmacy, without having to make an appointment with your GP.

If you don't normally pay NHS prescription charges, then any medicine supplied under the Pharmacyfirst scheme will be free.  If you do pay for your prescriptions, then the cost of the medicine should be much less than the current prescription charge.

Most pharmacists now also have a quiet area away from other customers where you can speak to the pharmacist privately.

When and why?

Visit your local pharmacy when you are suffering from common health problems that do not require a nurse or a doctor. Use the online service directory to find your local Barnsley pharmacy.

GP and 111

If you have an illness or injury that won't go away, make an appointment with your GP. You can make an appointment with a doctor or a nurse at your practice for medical advice, examinations, treatment, prescriptions and immunisations.

I HEART Barnsley - giving Barnsley people more options for appointments

If you need, or prefer to see or speak to a GP or Nurse in the evenings or on a Saturday or Sunday, you can call the iHEART Barnsley GP service. You can book to see someone at one of the two locations across the borough. For more details, visit their website or call direct on 01226 242419. 

Telephone lines are open 4:00pm - 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 8:00am - 9:30am during weekends and Bank Holidays, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day 2019.

When your GP practice is closed overnight and on Saturday or Sunday afternoon,  NHS 111 is there for when its less urgent than 999. There is out of hours medical assessment and treatment is available by dialling 111 on your telephone.

When and why?

Make an appointment with your local GP (doctor) when you have a common illness or injury that will not go away. Out of hours medical assessment is always available using the NHS 111 telephone number. Use your GP (doctor) service when you need treatment or advice that does not need a visit to A&E.

Registering with a doctor

For many people the first point of access to the NHS is through their GP. If you have not registered with a GP practice it's quite straightforward. Contact the GP practice and ask to register with them. They will usually ask you to complete a form and once the registration process is complete you will receive a confirmation letter. Find a GP.

NHS 111

NHS 111 service

NHS 111 is a free to call service which will help you when you need to access medical or dental care fast but it is not an emergency.  The NHS 111 service is staffed by trained health professionals so you will get the advice you need or get directed to the right local service to meet your needs.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help you access local urgent health care services. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

When to call 111

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.

Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.

If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.

For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.

How does 111 work?

The NHS 111 service is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you straightaway to the local service that can help you best. That could be A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, a community nurse, or a late-opening chemist.

Where possible, the NHS 111 team will book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.

If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.

Calls to 111 are recorded. All calls and the records created are maintained securely, and will only be shared with others directly involved with your care.

Typetalk or textphone

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, you can use the NHS 111 service through a textphone by calling 18001 111.

Calls are connected to the TextDirect system and the textphone will display messages to tell you what is happening. A typetalk relay assistant will automatically join the call. They will talk back what you've typed to the NHS 111 adviser and, in return, type back the adviser’s conversation, so you can read it on your textphone's display or computer.

Translation service

There is also a confidential interpreter service, which is available in many languages. Simply mention the language you wish to use when the NHS 111 operator answers your call.

A&E or 999

Accident and Emergency departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a serious or life-threatening situation.

The Accident and Emergency Department at Barnsley Hospital provides immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. If you call 999 for an ambulance, the telephone advisor will arrange for appropriate assistance for the patient based on the information provided about their illness or injury.

A&E departments tell us that around 4 in every 10 people who go to A&E don't need to. This wastes valuable time and resources needed for real emergencies. It is often very obvious if someone is seriously ill and needs immediate emergency care.

Using 999 with speech or hearing impairment

If you cannot make voice calls, you can contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.

You will only be able to use this service if you have registered with emergencySMS first. Please register now: don't wait for an emergency.

To register, text 'register' to 999. You will get a reply - then follow the instructions you are sent.

When you text 999 in an emergency

We need to know: 

> Who? 
Police, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue or Coastguard. 

> What? 
Briefly, what is the problem. 

> Where? 
Exactly where the problem is happening - give the name of the road, house number, postcode or nearby landmark, if possible.

What happens next?

The emergency service will either ask for more information or will tell you that help is on the way. 

Don't assume that your message has been received until the emergency service sends a message back. 

It will usually take about two minutes before you get a reply. If you don't get a reply within three minutes, please try again or find other ways of getting help.

For more information, visit or click here to download the emergencySMS leaflet.


Emergency services should only be used in very serious or life-threatening situations.

An emergency is a situation where someone is experiencing a loss of consciousness, heavy bleeding, an overdose, has swallowed something harmful, poisioning, has a deep wound or suspected broken bones.

Before you go to A&E THINK!

  • Is this an accident or an emergency?

If not, use this handy guide to choose the best options for you.