Sisters we need to talk..

About The National Health Service!

For those of you new to the UK….the NHS is like a religion here!

We love and defend our NHS against all criticism and although it may be slow and a bit doddery at times it is like everyone’s favourite great aunt.

Healthcare is free at the point of need (although obviously funded by taxes) but we need to make sure to use the system properly so that it continues to be there for us when needed.

In our series of “Sisters lets talk about…” we covered the National Health Service”

We have highlighted some of the points raised in this article, if you want to read more, sign up and join our Facebook community group

Levels of Care NHS
Levels of care, and how to deal with them

Let’s start with when it’s serious! In an emergency

If you feel that your life is in danger please call 999 (or 112). This gets you through to the call handlers for the ambulance service. They will ask a series of questions to establish what is happening and prioritise your situation as needed. They may send an ambulance or a first responder, they may suggest you go to A&E on your own or they may suggest seeing how things go and calling back if it gets worse.
If you feel that you need to be seen urgently but that you are able to make your way to A&E safely yourself please do choose this option.

When you’re not sure whether you need to be seen

This one is especially useful when the doctor’s surgeries are closed. Call 111. This gets you through to a triage system. Again a series of questions will establish what needs to happen next. If the call handler decides it is an emergency then you would go back into the system above. Otherwise, you will get a call back from a qualified healthcare professional who will determine with you what the next steps should be. This might be to go and see a doctor within a certain time frame or to self-monitor and call back if things worsen.

NHS Nurse
Photo by Luke Jones on Unsplash

Non-urgent or non-serious

In this case, make an appointment to see your local GP at the practice you are registered for. This will include vaccinations, checkups on existing health conditions, and minor illnesses or ailments. The GP will also be able to escalate any concerns to see specialists or to attend the hospital for further treatment. You are not able to self-refer to these specialists.

We cannot stress enough that we only use 999 for emergencies.
In a lot of cases, 111 will advise just to monitor at home.
We do realise that this is different from the ways things work in Ukraine but we have limited resources and we need to take good care of that favourite great aunt so that she carries on for many years to come.

In the UK, family doctors are called General Practitioners “GPs”. A GP is the first doctor you will see when accessing healthcare. To receive medical treatment, you and your children must register with a GP as soon as possible, even if you are not ill. You need to find GPs that are near where you are living and can use this website to find one:

You will be asked to fill out a registration form and bring identification and proof of your address if you can. Please note ID (Identity Document) and proof of address is not necessary for registering with a GP. You should not be asked about your immigration status

Some dentists offer NHS treatment and private treatment. You should register with a dentist as an NHS patient and let them know if you are receiving benefits, in which case your check-ups and necessary treatment will be free. Note that getting dental treatment before receiving Universal Credit can result in charges.

You might get additional money from Universal Credit if you have a health condition that means you are unable to work or prepare for work. If you are on a low income you may be eligible to apply to the NHS low income scheme for help with health costs such as prescriptions, dental care and eyesight tests. You can ask your GP practice about this or apply online

"Sisters we need to talk about..." Is a series of discussion topics hosted by Sunflower Sisters on their private community group on Facebook.  The group is open to ladies only and is a support group for both sponsors and guests, you can take part in the debate by joining our private community homepage by clicking the button below.

This topic was originally debated on Facebook on 16/08/2022 at 07:04am