For life threatening conditions, call 999 – Accident & Emergency (A&E). Emergency services are very busy. You should only attend Emergency Departments (A&E) if you are very badly hurt or if you become very seriously ill (life-threatening). This would include life threatening choking; chestpain; blacking out; severe blood loss or severe breathing difficulty. There are Emergency Departments at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and the Royal Berskhire Hospital in Reading.
Minor Injuries Units are for injuries, such as deep cuts, eye injuries, broken bones, severe sprains, minor head injury, minor burns and scalds. Many people go to Accident and Emergency when they could be treated just as well and probably quicker at a Minor Injuries Unit. In Accident and Emergency staff must give priority to serious and life-threatening conditions, so if you go there with a minor injury you may have to wait longer to be seen. It is better to go to a Minor Injuries Unit if there is one locally.
You don’t need an appointment to visit a Minor Injuries Unit. They are run by a team of highly qualified nurse practitioners with a lot of experience and expertise in the treatment of minor injuries. Minor Injuries Units can treat a wide variety of problems including cuts and grazes, sprains and strains, broken bones (fractures), bites and stings (including problems: minor eye infections, scratches or something stuck in your eye).
Some hospitals provide a First Aid Unit instead of a Minor Injuries Unit. First Aid Units provide a similar service to that provided by a Minor Injuries Unit except that they do not have the support of an x-ray service. If you think that your injury may require an x-ray then you should telephone the First Aid Unit for advice prior to attend.
For more details on these services please see our Minor Injuries Unit / First Aid Units page.
The Urgent Care Out of Hours Service provides urgent medical care from 6.30pm to 8.00am on weekdays and round the clock at weekends and bank holidays. It can help you if, for example, you have a fever or sickness that cannot wait until your GP surgery next opens, or if your illness does not require immediate treatment from a hospital Emergency Department.
The service can be accessed by calling 111 – this is a free phone number. Your call will be answered by a call handler who will ask you a number of questions, before directing you to either the out-of-hours service or the most appropriate service available at that time.
For emergency advice or treatment please call: 111 between 6.30pm to 9.30pm Monday to Thursday, 9.00am to 6.00pm at weekends, 9.00am to 5.00pm and 6.00pm to 9.00pm on bank holiday weekends and bank holidays.
This service is available to all Oxfordshire residents (including temporary residents and visitors). Callers will be phoned back for triage and provided with either advice or offered appointments for emergency treatment. This service is for people with urgent or emergency needs only and therefore does not provide routine care or repeat appointments.
For patients without a regular dentist who have a dental emergency during practice opening hours, please contact the NHS Oxfordshire Dental Helpline for details of NHS dental practices offering emergency appointments: telephone 01865 337267, 08000 113 824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Eye Emergency Department is open between the hours of 8am and 6pm (last appointment at 5pm) Monday to Friday. During the weekend an emergency clinic is held from 8.30am to 4pm on both days. This department operates a booking system whereby patients are assessed either by phone or in person and offered an appointment.
For more information see www.oxfordeyehospital.nhs.uk/about/eyeemergencies.asp
Last updated: 15 January, 2014