Alternatives to A&E

We know that finding the right place to go when you become ill or are injured can be confusing. This section of our website explains new urgent treatment services and explains how selecting the right service for your illness or injury, you're not only looking after your health but using NHS services responsibly.

We can all help to ease the pressure on our emergency services by only visiting A&E or calling 999 for life-threatening emergencies. You should only attend A&E with the most serious, life or limb-threatening emergencies and only dial 999 if you think you need an emergency ambulance. A&E is for real emergencies.

For less serious injuries or illnesses follow the 'Choose Well' guide to chose the most appropriate service:

Self-care is the best way to treat common illnesses and injuries such as coughs, colds, slight cuts and grazes. You can treat them at home with a range of medicines and a first aid kit bought from a pharmacy or supermarket.

You can prepare for many common illnesses and injuries by having a chat with your local pharmacist who can give you advice on what self-care medications to have at home.

With all self-care if your symptoms recur, or if you are no better after two days, call NHS 111 for advice or contact your GP.

NHS 111
If you require medical help but you’re not sure where to go, then please Talk before you walk. You can call NHS 111 free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and, where appropriate, a clinical advisor will assess your symptoms, decide what medical help you need and advise where you need to go.

Clinical advisors can arrange an appointment for you at an Urgent Treatment Centre, 8 to 8 Centre or an out of hours GP if your condition means you need to see a health care professional within the next 12 hours. They can also give you self-care advice and information.

You should call NHS 111 if:

  • You need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency
  • You think you need to go to accident and emergency or another NHS urgent care service
  • You do not know who to call for medical help or you do not have a GP to call
  • You require health information or reassurance about what to do next

For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP in the usual way.


Your local pharmacist is a healthcare professional who can give you clinical advice and treatment for common illnesses such as coughs, colds, aches and pains. They can also help you decide whether you need to contact other healthcare services such as contraception and sexual health.

You can talk to your pharmacist in confidence, even about the most personal symptoms without an appointment. Many pharmacies now have a consultation area where you can discuss health concerns in private. 

Some of the services available from your local pharmacy include help for:

  • Emergency contraception (morning after pill)
  • Raised temperature/fever
  • Coughs, colds, flu
  • Ear infections and earache
  • Urine infections and cystitis
  • Diarrhoea/vomiting
  • Skin infections/rashes/allergic reactions
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Emergency repeat prescription service

 GP Surgeries 

Your local GP surgery provides a wide range of family health services that include advice on health concerns, how to prevent you becoming unwell, vaccinations, examinations and treatment, and prescriptions for medicines. They can also refer you to other health services.

GP surgeries usually have a range of staff including practice nurses, advanced nurse practitioners, health care assistants and pharmacists. You don’t always have to see your GP, another member of the team may be able to see and treat you. The receptionist can help you make the right choice for you.

GP Out of Hours Service

The out of hours GP service is a separate facility where a team of GPs and nurse practitioners provide services from 6pm to 8am weekdays, bank holidays and weekends. They offer help, advice and treatment if you have an urgent clinical need that cannot wait for your own GP practice to open.

If you need to see or speak to a GP when your surgery is closed, call NHS 111 and, where appropriate, a clinical advisor will assess you, give advice on when and where to go for treatment, or book you in to see an out of hours GP if needed.

8 to 8 Centres

8 to 8 Centres are designed to provide a range of community services for non-urgent and planned care.

They are open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week and have qualified nurses who can assess a number of minor injuries such as:

  •        Cuts and grazes
  •        Sprains and strains
  •        Wound and wound infections
  •        Minor burns and scalds
  •        Minor head injuries
  •        Insect and animal bites

You cannot walk-in to an 8 to 8 Centre for treatment of minor injuries, you have to ring NHS 111 who will assess your symptoms and give advice on where to go for treatment or arrange an appointment for you, if appropriate, at the 8 to 8 Centre.

For more information about 8 to 8 services in your area, click on the links below:

East Riding


Urgent Treatment Centres

If you have an urgent injury or illness that is not serious, life or limb threatening, then the nearest Urgent Treatment Centre to you can provide assessment, advice and/or treatment. Common conditions that can be treated in an Urgent Treatment Centre are:

  • Cuts and grazes
  • Sprains and strains
  • Simple broken bones
  • Wound and wound infections
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Minor head injuries
  • Insect and animal bites
  • Minor eye injuries (foreign bodies in eye)
  • Minor back injuries
  • Emergency contraception 
  • Skin infections/rashes/allergic reactions
  • Urine infections
  • Raised temperature/fever

You can walk into an Urgent Treatment Centre, however we always recommend you Talk before you walk by calling NHS 111.  Where appropriate, a clinical advisor will assess your symptoms, decide what medical help you need and advise where you need to go.

For details of where to find East Riding and Hull Urgent Treatment Centres visit

Scarborough and Rydale Urgent Treatment Centre information is available here

Accident and Emergency or 999

A&E is for real emergencies. Symptoms of serious illness include:

  • Life-threatening choking
  • Chest pain
  • Stroke
  • Blacking out
  • Severe blood loss
  • Severe breathing difficulty
  • Severe injury
  • Broken bones (where the bone sticks out or severe deformity)
  • Large/deep cuts
  • Stab wounds
  • Severe burns

Depending on where you live the nearest A&E departments for East Riding of Yorkshire residents are:

Hull Royal Infirmary
Scunthorpe General Hospital
Scarborough General Hospital
York Hospital