The local NHS is urging people to use services wisely as health services across mid and south Essex are experiencing major pressures.

Accident and Emergency departments, the ambulance service, GP practices and community health services are all being stretched by the number of people calling on them for help. Local people are reminded that they should only call 999 for an ambulance or attend A&E for serious, life or limb-threatening conditions.

Dr Anna Davey, GP lead for mid and south Essex ICB said,

“NHS services are under severe pressure at the moment. This could mean longer waits for those with less serious conditions as some services, including ambulances and A&E departments work to ensure that those with the greatest clinical need get the urgent care they need first.

“The NHS is always here when needed, but we are asking everyone to think carefully about which NHS service would be most appropriate for them at this time.

“If you need help urgently but aren’t sure about which service you need, NHS 111, either online or on the phone, will ensure you get the right care and treatment.”

There are a number of ways for people to get health advice and care if they, a family member or a friend feel ill:

Visit the NHS website – for advice and information. It covers thousands of illnesses and conditions:

Visit a pharmacy – for expert advice and low-cost medicines to ease symptoms and help treat your condition. Every area has a late opening pharmacy, and most have consulting rooms where people can ask for advice in private. Go to to find your nearest open pharmacist.

Contact your GP practice – GP practices have a range of staff to assess and treat patients. Local residents can visit their practice website or call them to get help.

Visit or call 111 – for free, round the clock help when GP surgeries are closed, when it’s an urgent but not a life-threatening 999 situation, or for those who are unsure where to go to get the right help for their medical condition. NHS 111 can advise and even book you an appointment with the out-of-hours GP.  They can also advise on late-opening pharmacies, minor injuries units, mental health help or urgent care centre services.  The online service or the adviser on the phone will signpost to the nearest suitable service to where you are.

Mental health help – anyone in a mental health crisis should call NHS 111 and select option 2.