Broadly speaking, primary care could include any part of the healthcare system that has first contact with a patient embarking on an episode of care.
Traditionally, primary care services have been thought of as general practice, community pharmacy, dental services, and optometry. The scope of primary care however is much wider and could also include appropriate self-care interventions, mental health support, community healthcare teams that incorporate nursing and other multidisciplinary care.
There are a number of options when you think you need health and care support from primary care.
Your Local Pharmacist
This is a good place to start when you need health advice. Your pharmacist can provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds, as well as pain relief for headache, stomach ache and earache.
To find out more about how your pharmacist can help, and to find a local pharmacist, see our Pharmacies page.
Your Dental Services
Good dental care is important in maintaining your overall health and wellbeing.
- Find an NHS dentist near you
- For dental emergencies and out-of-hours care, contact your usual dentist, or if you do not have a regular dentist contact NHS 111
Dental health services are commissioned by NHS England. If you have problems with finding a local NHS dentist contact NHS England South on 01865 336 800, and they will be able to assist you.
Your Optometry Services
It is recommended you visit an ophthalmic practitioner for an eye test every 2 years. An NHS sight test is free of charge if clinically necessary.
Your GP surgery
If you have tried the self care options, it’s gone on for a while, or you are worried, contact your GP surgery. The doctors, practice nurses and other members of the team are there to help. If you phone at a particularly busy time they may need to take a message and arrange to call you back later.
To find out about our local GPs see our GP Surgeries page.