Choosing the right place to get help

When to call 999

Call 999 in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Most common illnesses will get better without the need to visit a doctor. Colds and flu do not need antibiotics and you can treat yourself at home.

Other common illnesses that can be treated at home are:

  • back pain
  • eczema
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • fever in children
  • constipation
  • headache and migraine
  • coughs
  • mild urinary tract infections (UTI)

Visit for advice on how to manage your symptoms. You can also visit for self-care tips and tools.

Pharmacists can help you with minor health concerns such as:

  • coughs, colds and sore throats
  • flu
  • earache
  • cystitis
  • skin rashes
  • red eye
  • tummy trouble
  • indigestion and heartburn
  • aches and pains
  • teething
  • emergency contraception
  • weight management

If you're experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems, First Step can help. First Step provide free talking therapies to adults (18 and over) in Cumbria. They can help with things like:

  • depression
  • anxiety disorders such as chronic worry, panic attacks, health anxiety and obsessions
  • stress
  • bulimia
  • anger
  • sleep problems

To find out more about First Step, visit:

First Step north Cumbria

First Step south Cumbira

If you have an illness or injury that will not go away you should visit your local GP. Find out more about GP services and how to register here.

See a dentist if you have a toothache that lasts more than 2 days. Other things an NHS dentist can help you with are:

  • check ups
  • dentures (false teeth)
  • crowns, bridges and veneers
  • dental abscess
  • orthodontics
  • root canal treatment
  • scale and polish
  • wisdom teeth
  • fillings (including white fillings)
  • broken, chipped or knocked out teeth

Find out more about NHS dentists and how to register.

Call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. You can also access the 111 service online.

If you have an injury that’s not life-threatening and can not be treated by simple first aid such as:

  • superficial injuries and bruises
  • bites and stings
  • cuts and grazes
  • minor sunburn
  • dressings of wounds

If you need urgent medical attention and it’s not life-threatening such as:

  • sprains and strains
  • cuts and grazes
  • obvious broken bones (fractures)
  • bites and stings
  • infected wounds
  • minor burns
  • head injury (if there has been no loss of consciousness)
  • eye problems (such as minor eye infections, scratches or something that is stuck in your eye)

Find your nearest Urgent Treatment Centre or Minor Injuries Service


An A&E department deals with life-threatening emergencies such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state
  • fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma such as a road traffic accident

You should go to A&E if you have a tooth ache and:

  • the area around your eye or your neck is swollen
  • swelling in your mouth or neck is making it difficult for you to breathe, swallow or speak

If you have an urgent dental problem, call your dentist. If they're closed, their answer phone may tell you what to do.

If you do not have a dentist or can not get an emergency appointment, call 111 and they'll advise you what to do.