Think twice before going to A&E over festive time

For some people who fall ill or get hurt, the first place they think of going is the hospital, but unnecessary visits to the hospital could prevent someone urgently in need of treatment getting care.

NHS Outer North East London (ONEL) says people should not hesitate to call 999 for life-threatening conditions but has advised that many illnesses or injuries can be treated elsewhere.

A spokesman for ONEL said: “Please don’t go to a hospital A&E department unless you have a critical or life threatening problem.

“Most illnesses and conditions can be treated more effectively elsewhere, nearer to where you live and without having to wait hours to be seen.

“You may stop someone else getting the treatment they urgently need – especially at this time of year when our hospitals are always under extra pressure.”

People are advised to treat some minor illnesses at home, with medicines bought from a pharmacy or supermarket and by getting plenty of rest.

The borough’s walk-in centre – The Harold Wood Polyclinic, The Drive, off Gubbins Lane - can deal with minor illnesses and injuries such as cuts and bruises, burns and strains.

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Residents visiting family elsewhere can pop in to any NHS walk-in centre, as there is no need to be registered. Others near to Havering include those in High Street, Grays and Morland Road, Dagenham.

NHS Direct can over advice on its website at or over the phone on 0845 46 47.

Your local GP should also have an out-of-hours phone number if you call the usual number.

There are pharmacies open in Havering on bank holidays. Visit for a full list.

For more information about NHS services in Havering call the NHS Patient Advice team on 0800 328 2556.