When you have a medical issue arrive suddenly, it can feel very disarming. Questions can start arising in your head, causing you to worry and panic prematurely. Worry not, however, as there are some steps you can take to obtain the care you need quickly and efficiently, with minimal fuss.

Read on to learn more about what to do when you think you need urgent medical attention, and how a private GP consultation can be an even greater help.

Urgent Care Services

If you believe you need emergency care, it can be hard to decide where you should go for care. We have listed a few examples of urgent care services.

NHS 111 Online

This handy online system is free to use, and accessible through the internet. You will be asked to complete a series of questions, which can roughly help you determine whether you require a normal GP consultation, an urgent appointment, or to call 999. If you do not have access to NHS 111 Online, you can dial 111 instead for support, and the team will take you through a similar process. This system is great for finding and locating out-of-hours GP appointments for those who need to be seen quickly, but do not require the attention of an emergency centre like A&E.

Urgent treatment centres

If you need help quickly, opt for an urgent treatment centre. These centres are sometimes more helpful than A&E if you need specific assistance. They can help with infections, injuries, stomach pains, sprains, suspected broken bones, high-temperature and mental health worries.


Accident and emergency, otherwise known as A&E, is an urgent care service exclusively for serious injuries and life-threatening emergencies. If you need to go to A&E, you should always get someone to drive you there as travelling there yourself can put yourself and other road users at risk.

Concerning Symptoms

While one symptom can be a side effect of several medical conditions, mild and major, some key symptoms are more likely to require emergency treatment. Read on for a few symptoms that suggest you should seek urgent medical care.

Coughing and difficulty breathing

While coughing can be a simple side effect of colds, they can also suggest something more serious. If your coughing fits are becoming uncontrollable, combined with difficult breathing, it may be time to make an emergency GP appointment. While it may seem unserious at the time, it is always a good idea to have your concerns checked out. Coughing and difficulty breathing are symptoms of a range of conditions, from mild conditions, such as asthma, or more serious issues, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Chest Pain

A concerning sign that you may be experiencing a medical emergency is chest pain. Chest pain can feel like a tightness, an ache or a stabbing sensation within your upper body. There is no one reason for chest pain, which is why it’s very important to seek medical advice as quickly as possible. Some potential causes of chest pain are injuries, anxiety, pneumonia, heart attacks, and indigestion.

Abdominal pain, diarrhoea or vomiting

As unpleasant as it is, most people experience abdominal pain at some stage of their life. It can be a symptom of overeating or period pain, as well as more sinister issues. Not all stomach aches require urgent care, however, there are a few specific situations that might suggest it is needed. For example, if the pain has started suddenly, this suggests that you need to see a medical professional. Any severe pain should also be addressed quickly.

If you are sick, or experiencing diarrhoea, there are also some signs you should look out for. For example, if your vomit looks like coffee grounds or similar, seek emergency care as soon as possible. Watery excrement could be symptomatic of food poisoning, which may result in the need for serious care. If you are concerned about your symptoms and are not sure where to go, visit NHS 111 Online or call your doctor for advice.


While many infections are worrying but not yet serious, some infections can be worrying and, in some cases, deadly. If you have a skin infection or a rash, it can be a good idea to seek out an emergency GP appointment for help. Some causes of skin issues could be eczema or an allergic reaction.

Unwell children

As adults, we can generally communicate what is wrong with our bodies, to get the help we need fast. Children, other the other hand, might need more help to get them to the right care. If your child is unwell, there are a few things to look out for that suggest you should take your child to an emergency GP appointment, such as high temperatures and infections. In other cases, A&E is needed if your child’s life is in danger. We have listed some life-threatening symptoms below to help you.

Visit A&E if your child:

  • Has a limp and floppy body
  • Has blue, grey, pale or blotchy skin, tongue, lips, palms of the hand or soles of the feet
  • Is experiencing sudden rapid swelling of the lips, mouth, throat or tongue
  • Is choking
  • Is unable to stay awake
  • Is bleeding heavily

Getting An Emergency GP Appointment

If you have determined that you need to make an emergency GP appointment, it’s important to know the steps to obtaining urgent care.

Assess your emergency

Before contacting your local GP for an emergency appointment, it’s important to assess the severity of the emergency. In some cases, your issue might instead be a life-threatening medical emergency, requiring a visit to A&E or calling an ambulance to your location.

While any healthcare assistance is better than none, you may be inadvertently delaying how quickly your emergency can be addressed by underestimating the severity. You can use the NHS 111 Online service to help you narrow down how urgent your medical issue is, and who you should go to see.

Contact your GP practice

For emergencies that don’t require a trip to A&E, the best way to obtain an emergency appointment is to contact your local GP service. Many GP surgeries can offer same-day appointments if you can call first thing in the morning, however, this is not always a given, and you may be waiting in long queues before speaking to a receptionist.

If you need out-of-hours urgent care, your GP surgery should have a telephone line you can contact. These phone numbers help to be checked over by a medical professional without having to wait until the next working day. If you cannot get through, NHS 111 offer emergency appointments that can get you the right care.

Explain the urgency

When you manage to contact a general practitioner, explain in full what your symptoms are, and the length of time you have been experiencing them. This will help a GP understand the process that led you to see urgent medical attention and the actions you have taken since. Be clear about any medications you might have taken too, to help your doctor understand what is in your body.

The Benefits of Private Emergency GP Appointments

Private doctors can be incredibly helpful when it comes to attending an emergency appointment. Whether you choose to opt for private health care consistently, or simply need a one-off appointment, private care can be a fantastic option.

Reduced waiting periods

When trying to get an out-of-hours emergency appointment, the wait times can be extraordinary. It isn’t just the emergency appointments either. Waiting several weeks for a standard health consultation can be a nightmare, particularly if your issue is impacting your quality of life.


Many private doctors offer later booking slots than NHS practitioners. Seeing the doctor can be an annoyance, as you find yourself rearranging conflicting commitments and waiting long periods for an emergency appointment callback.

Medical MOTs and other prevention tactics

Private GP consultations can go above and beyond regarding concern for your well-being. After your urgent care appointment, you can arrange to have what’s known as a medical MOT. Much like doing tests and checks on a vehicle, a doctor will check your health thoroughly, helping to prevent any issues from developing into emergencies, and detecting conditions early on.

Our Private Doctors

At Duality Healthcare, we are passionate about getting you and your loved ones the care you need as urgently as possible. Besides our top-quality urgent care appointments, our doctors offer private GP consultations, helping you get the care you need. We offer different memberships, allowing you to choose the right plan for you.

Visit our website or get in touch with our team today to find out more.