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It is critical that our Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments are able to help the patients who really need them.

Many people visit A&E when they could have been seen by a different healthcare professional. By finding the right person to talk to, you will get the most appropriate treatment for your child.

Before attending our Emergency Department, we ask parents to try this new online Symptom Checker tool. Find information on several of the most common symptoms in children requiring urgent care and decide where best to get the right care for your child.

Click here to use the Symptom Checker.

You could also think about whether you should visit:

  • A pharmacy – this can be a quick way of accessing medical help and advice for your child as you don’t need an appointment and you can speak to your pharmacist in confidence.
  • Your GP – if it is a condition that your pharmacist cannot treat, or for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, prescriptions, medical examinations and referral to specialist services, visit your GP.
  • A walk-in service – you do not need an appointment to take your child to an urgent care centre, minor injuries unit or walk-in centre.
  • A dentist – emergency dental care services are available for children in pain requiring emergency treatment.

If you still need to go to A&E

Remember that A&E should only be used in extreme circumstances – if it’s a serious or life-threatening situation. If you access A&E inappropriately, you may be turned away and directed to another NHS service.

An emergency might include:

  • Suspected meningitis
  • Suspected broken bones
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sudden and severe headaches
  • Severe burns
  • Severe injuries requiring hospital treatment.
 If the situation is an emergency and your child needs immediate care, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.