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Living here and your health

How to access healthcare services including those for visitors or temporary residents.

Accessing Healthcare

If you are unwell or worried about your health or the health of anyone in your family, you should go to see your local doctor, called a General Practitioner (GP). The GP’s clinic is called a Surgery and located within a Health Centre.

Doctors look after the health of people in their local community and deal with a whole range of health problems. They also give health education and advice on things like smoking and diet, run clinics, give vaccinations, contraception advice and carry out simple surgical procedures.

Doctors usually work within a team including nurses, health visitors and midwives, as well as a range of other health professionals such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists. If a Doctor cannot deal with your problem they will usually refer you to a hospital for tests, treatment or to see a consultant with specialised knowledge.

If you are coming to the UK on holiday or for a short visit, you may be requested to pay for any NHS hospital treatment needed during your stay. If you think you will have to pay for treatment, you are strongly advised to take out health insurance before your trip. If you come from a country with which the UK holds a healthcare agreement, then you will not have to pay for treatment that is needed immediately for a condition that started after your arrival in the UK.

The relevant authorities in your own country will have details of the arrangements covered by this agreement. You may be asked to give proof of your claim that you are on a short term visit, such as your passport or identity card, and/or travel documents. You will still have to pay the statutory NHS charges, such as prescription charges, unless you qualify for exemption from these. You will also have to join waiting lists for treatment where appropriate.

While visiting the UK you may ask any GP practice within the local area, to be accepted as an NHS patient

However, if you require emergency treatment (at a GP surgery, Accident & Emergency department, or Walk-In Centre) this will be given free of charge regardless of the length of your stay or your nationality. If you subsequently need to be admitted to hospital you will then be subject to NHS charges.

For more detailed information about this and any other questions please contact The Department of Health via their website on

Every individual living lawfully, looking for employment and on a settled basis in the UK has a right to be registered with a local Doctors surgery and visits to the surgery are free.

You should register with a GP as soon as possible so that you can get medical care if you need it. To register you will need to give your name, date of birth, address and telephone number if you have one.

Everyone in your family will need to be registered before they can be seen. You do not need to pay any money to register.

It is important that you register your children with a doctor. If you are able to, please bring a record of the immunisations your children have had.

Services for Visitors or Temporary Residents

If you are away from home in any part of the country and are in need of treatment, you can register with a GP for up to three months as a temporary resident.

If you are an overseas visitor, more information can be found at

Finding a GP

Contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233

  • If you have any problems the surgery will be able to arrange an interpreter

How to make an appointment

Before you visit your doctor or one of the nurses at the surgery you will usually need to make an appointment in person or by telephone. You can ask to see a male or female doctor or nurse, although this may not always be possible.

You may have to wait a few days for a non urgent appointment. If you think you need to see the doctor urgently tell the receptionist when you make the appointment, and you will be seen that day if appropriate. If the doctor thinks you are too ill to come to the surgery, he or she may visit you at home.

Please make sure that you arrive on time for your appointment and if you are unable to attend your appointment please make sure you cancel it.

You may want to get advice from a Family planning clinic. Family planning clinics offer free confidential advice and information on contraception and sexual health.

Clinics can be used by women, men and young people, (including those under 16 years of age).  Most health authorities will also have services especially for young people.  You can refer yourself or be referred by your GP or other health workers.  You may need to book an appointment to see the doctor.  Many clinics also run walk-in clinics so you may not need to make an appointment.

Clinics will provide a range of services. Many will provide:

  • advice about contraception
  • combined oral contraception -the progestogen-only pill
  • progestogen injections
  • limited supplies of free condoms
  • free emergency contraception
  • advice about sexually transmitted diseases
  • cervical screening
  • unplanned pregnancy advice
  • free pregnancy tests
  • pre-conception advice and fertility awareness information
  • fitting and checking of caps, diaphragms and coils (IUD)

Below is a list of Clinics in Rossendale of which one may be near to you. Please ring to check the opening times.

  • Waterfoot Health Centre CaSH Clinic, Cowpe Road, Waterfoot, Lancashire, BB4 7DN, Clinic: 01706 253300
  • Bacup Primary Health Centre CaSH Clinic  (Upper Ground Floor), Irwell Mill, Rochdale Road, Bacup, Lancashire, OL13 9NR, Booking line: 01772 401140
  • Rawtenstall Family CaSH Clinic  Rawtenstall Health Centre, Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, Lancashire, BB4 7PL, Booking line: 01772 401140
  • Haslingden Health Centre CaSH Clinic  27 Manchester Road,Haslingden, Rossendale, Lancashire, BB4 5SL, Booking line: 01772 401140

For more information you can visit

What if I do not speak English?

If you need an interpreter you must tell the receptionist when you make the appointment. Tell the staff which language you speak and they will book an interpreter for you or get an interpreter on the phone. It is important that you and the doctor understand each other so that he or she can make an accurate diagnosis of your problem.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

If English is not your language of choice and you would like to find a GP or medical service that speaks your preferred language, contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 587 2586 or NHS England on 0300 311 2233.

Dental Health

A list of Dental Practices in the Rossendale area are included on the REAL Rossendale web site.

Should you require a Dental appointment in an emergency or not have currently registered with a practice then phone the Lancashire Dental Helpline on 0300 1234 010. There are more details on this link to the REAL Rossendale website.


The doctor will give you a piece of paper called a ‘prescription’ if they want you to take medication. You will need to take the prescription to a Pharmacist who will give you the medicine the doctor wants you to take. You may have to pay. The cost of a prescription usually changes every year so it is best to check the current cost with your Pharmacist.

Pharmacists, (sometimes called Chemists), are experts in medicines and how they work.

They dispense your prescriptions, provide a range of services related to specific health issues. For example, some may offer services such as diabetes testing, blood pressure monitoring, advice and guidance on giving up smoking, supply of continence products and needle exchanges.

There are a list of Rossendale Pharmacies on the REAL Rossendale web site

Your local Pharmacy can advise on self care. Follow this link for more information.

In addition for more detailed information on Pharmacists and general advice about a medical problem call 111 or visit and follow the links.

Urgent and Emergency Care Services (A&E)

In most cases you will need to visit the doctor at your local surgery if you are unwell and need treatment.

GP’s and GP Out of Hours

In East Lancashire you can access a GP 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your regular GP is available from 8.00am to 6.30pm weekdays, with same day appointments available if necessary.

When the surgery is closed and you are too ill to wait for it to re-open, you can access help and support from the GP Out of Hours service. To contact the GP Out of Hours service phone free on 111.

Rossendale Minor Injuries Unit

A minor injuries unit is available at the Rossendale Primary Health Care Centre (Bacup Road, Rawtenstall BB4 7PL. It provides treatment for patients with common colds, such as scalds, burns, cuts, stings, bites and suspected broken bones, which although not life threatening do still need urgent medical treatment (listed below).

The MIU is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 8.00am to 8.00pm. No appointment is necessary.

Or patients that are unable to get a GP appointment for any of the above.

Patients that are unsure of whether they should be treated at the Minor Injuries department or access treatment elsewhere should phone NHS 111 (free of charge) for advice

A guide to what conditions the MIU provide can be found by following this link.

NHS 111

NHS 111 has been introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services (Typetalk friendly for the hearing impaired).

You may need to see a consultant if your GP thinks a specialist opinion is needed about your condition. A consultant is a specialist in the area of medicine that is to do with your health problem. If you need to see a consultant you have to go to a hospital to see the consultant, but you don’t have to stay in hospital.

NHS hospitals have a range of services to treat rare, complicated and serious conditions. You may need to go to hospital for procedures that cannot be carried out in your GP surgery, such as scans, X-rays and surgery.

Hospitals also carry out emergency treatment for serious injuries and life – threatening illnesses. Many hospitals have intensive care units for seriously ill people who need round the clock treatment. Hospitals have lots of different clinics to treat particular conditions. The numbers of clinics vary, depending on the size of the hospital, and some hospitals specialise in certain areas of medicine.

The nearest Hospitals with an A&E Department are listed below:

  • Fairfield General Hospital General,A&E Service, Fairfield General Hospital, Rochdale Old Road, Bury, BL9 7TD  Telephone: 0161 764 6081
  • Royal Blackburn Hospital,Haslingden Road,Blackburn,Lancashire,BB2 3HH  Telephone: 01254 293 588
  • Royal Oldham Hospital,General A&E Service, Rochdale Road, Oldham, OL1 2JH  Telephone: 0161 624 0420

Rossendale has a Minor Injuries Unit at:

  • Rossendale Primary Health Care Centre,Bacup Road,Rawtenstall, BB4 7PL Telephone: 01706 235344 (minor injuries 01706 253650)

Other Hospitals you may be referred to, (but do not have an Accident and Emergency Department), include:

  • Burnley General Hospital,Casterton Avenue, Burnley, BB10 2PQ Telephone: 01282 425071
  • Accrington Victoria Hospital,Haywood Road, Accrington, Lancashire, BB5 6AS Tel: 01254 687342
  • Rochdale Hospital, Whitehall Street, Rochdale, OL12 0NB Telephone: 01706 377777

Getting to Hospital

If you are considered in medical need of non-emergency transport, a health professional can organise this on your behalf.

The medical need for non-emergency transport must be decided by a doctor, dentist or midwife and will depend on your clinical condition. It also takes account of other factors, such as the availability of private or public transport and the distance to be travelled. Each patient should be able to reach hospital in a reasonable time, in comfort and without any harm to their health.

When the Hospital sends you details of your appointment they will usually include a map and directions of how to get there. Alternatively you can visit and follow the link to hospitals where you will find detailed maps that can be printed.

What is an Emergency?

An emergency is where one of the emergency services is needed immediately, for example if there is a fire, if someone is badly hurt or a crime is being committed.

In an emergency ALWAYS phone 999. The call will be free of charge.

When you phone 999, you will be asked which service you need. You have a choice of FIRE, POLICE or AMBULANCE. You will need to tell the operator:

  • What is needed?
  • Where is it needed
  • Why is it needed?
  • Where are you?
53340Living here and your health