Guide to health and care services when you're not well


Here are some of the services that you should know about if you need health advice, information or treatment.


Get NHS help online

It's easy to get NHS help using your smartphone, tablet or computer. Get NHS help online here.


The NHS App is available to download and has some really useful options that can help to support you and your family at home such as reordering prescriptions, and up to date COVID-19 advice access 111 Online, for advice on self-care and whether urgent help is needed.

NHS 111

When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, you can contact NHS 111 online or by call 111 at any time day or night. NHS 111 will direct people to the most appropriate health service which may include a walk-in centre, GP practice, pharmacy or hospital.

Your local pharmacy

Pharmacies are here to provide you with expert health advice on minor illnesses and ailments. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

If you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff.

You can find website details for local pharmacies here.

Ordering prescriptions

The best way to order your repeat prescription is online through your GP practice or the NHS app. If you are unable to order your prescription in this way, your practice will have arrangements in place. Please only contact your surgery to request an alternative method of ordering prescriptions if you or a friend/family member are unable to order your medicines online or via an app.

If you can’t get out to pick up your medicines you can ask a trusted family member, friend or neighbour to collect your medicines once the prescription is ready for collection. If you have no one to help and are self-isolating, you can find details of support available on Sefton Council's website here.

GP practices

Your GP practice is working differently to provide your ongoing care and support.

Contact the practice, either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed. If a face-to-face appointment is necessary, you will be advised on what to do. GP practices have measures in place to minimise any risk from coronavirus.

Please do not enter the practice unless you’ve been advised to. This will ensure they can continue to provide essential care safely.

You should continue to contact them without delay when you have health concerns, as you would do in normal times.

The 7 day GP service provides pre-bookable, routine appointments for any patient registered with a GP practice in Southport and Formby weekday evenings and at weekends, outside normal surgery opening hours. This service operates from 5-8pm on weekdays and 9am-12pm on weekends. You can book appointments and get more information by calling your regular GP practice or via NHS 111. 

Remember, there is a range of services you can access online, including ordering repeat prescriptions and accessing a wide range of medical advice and information.

Visit your GP practice’s website for online services, or download the NHS App on your smartphone, tablet or other device.

Walk-in and urgent care centres

To get help for minor illnesses and minor injuries the walk-in centres in Skelmersdale and Litherland, and the urgent treatment centre in Ormskirk operate seven days a week from 8am until 8pm, including Bank Holidays.

Before attending any of the centres please contact or call FREEPHONE 111 where your problem will be triaged and if required an appointment for you or your loved one will be made at an appropriate location following a telephone consultation. 

Litherland Walk-in Centre
Litherland Town Hall Hatton Hill Road, Litherland, L21 9JN

West Lancashire Urgent Care Centre
Ormskirk Hospital, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ

Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre
The Concourse, Skelmersdale, WN8 6LJ


Emergency hospital services

You should still call 999 for all serious or life-threatening emergencies. If you think you or a family member are suffering with the symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke you must dial 999 immediately

If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.

You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to.

Use the following links to find out full arrangements at our local hospitals:

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – including Aintree, the Royal and Broadgreen.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Getting you home as soon as you’re well enough

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has created a booklet, Information about your stay in hospital and what will happen when you leave, with useful information on how to make sure you’re not in hospital any longer than you need to be, as staying in hospital once you are well enough to leave has an impact on your health. Find out more about this here.

Alder Hey symptom checker for poorly children

Clinicians at Alder Hey Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have developed a Symptom Checker to help parents and carers understand their poorly child’s symptoms and what they can do for them.

The fast, easy to use and reliable online Symptom Checker offers parents and carers information on several of the most common symptoms in children requiring urgent care. Using the Symptom Checker will help parents and carers decide where best to get the right care for their child, be it at home, at their local chemist, walk-in centre or GP, or with a trip to Alder Hey’s Emergency Department.


Community services

Find full details on how community services are currently working on the Mersey Care website: Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust 


Mental health and wellbeing services

Use the links below for a round up of local mental health and wellbeing services and how to contact them:      

For adults

For children and young people


Sexual health service

Sefton Sexual Health Service services are running but people are being asked to call ahead on 01695 656550. Find out more at the Sefton Sexual Health website. 


Eye care and opticians

Anyone with a regular optician should as a first step call their practice/store. Please do not visit the practice/store.

The optometrist will assess your situation over the phone, give advice and, if needed, issue spectacles or contact lenses if these have been supplied before. These can be collected from or delivered by a local optician.

If you require spectacles to function with essential tasks such as work or driving as a key worker and it is not possible to dispense spectacles based on a previous prescription, then the optometrist is able to arrange a face to face consultation at the practice. This is subject to the optometrist’s clinical view of:

  • COVID-19 risk for both patient and practice team
  • The patient’s essential need for spectacles and/or contact lenses

Anyone without a regular optician can find details of local practices via:

If the optometrist thinks that urgent or emergency eye care is needed, they will refer you into the local urgent or emergency eye care service so that any necessary treatment can be carried out. This may be carried out by the same optical practice or another local practice. 

For eye care problems, please contact your optician first. Please do not visit A&E, your GP practice or pharmacy. 



Dentists are open for urgent and routine treatments. Contact your dentist by phone or email.

Changes have been made to keep you and the dental care team safe.

If you cannot contact your dentist or you do not have one, use the get help from NHS 111 online.

Find out more about using the NHS and other health services during COVID-19

What to do about …

You can read advice about routine vaccinations and what to do if you, the person you care for or your child becomes unwell and you are pregnant or a cancer patient, or if you suspect you or someone you care for is having heart attack or stroke. Click here for more information.

Remember: what to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

If you have coronavirus symptoms - a high temperature or a new, continuous cough - and you need medical advice, use NHS 111 online COVID service.

Only call 111 if you do not have online access.

If NHS 111 decides that you need to see or speak to someone else because of your symptoms, the service will arrange this with you.