Help us help you and your family stay well
With all the different ways to access medical care, it can be confusing to know where is best to go. This page aims to explain the different NHS services available to you and your family.
You can also download our guide to finding the right service in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, to make sure you get the right care at the right time.
- Self Care
Most minor illnesses and injuries can be treated at home. Keep your medicine cabinet well-stocked with essentials like pain killers, antihistamine, cold and flu remedies, anti-diarrhoea and indigestion medicine. If you have children, make sure you’ve got the right medicines according to their age.
PharmaciesIf you’re suffering from a cold, cuts and grazes or minor illnesses, your Pharmacist will be able to give you remedies, so you don’t have to see a GP or Nurse. Your local Pharmacist is a trained expert in medicines who can dispense and advise you on the safe use of prescription, repeat prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacies are often open until late and at weekends, and many have a quiet area where you can talk to a Pharmacist in private. Visit the NHS website to 'Find a Pharmacy' near you.
There are some services in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes where you can ‘self-refer’ by contacting the provider directly.
The Musculoskeletal (MSK) service
If you have joint, muscle or bone problems, such as backs, hips, knees, ankles and hands, you can self-refer to the local Musculoskeletal (MSK) service. They can diagnose and treat your condition with physiotherapy or may refer you to another specialist medical team. Your GP can make a referral, or if you live in Bedfordshire or Milton Keynes you can self-refer by visiting: Bedfordshire – www.circlehealth.co.uk/integratedcare/msk/phio/ Milton Keynes – www.connecthealth.co.uk/services/milton-keynes/ or calling 01908 229 432
Community Urgent Eyecare Services (CUES)
The Community Urgent Eyecare Service (CUES) provides urgent assessment, and treatment for sudden onset eye problems. The following symptoms can be treated:
- Red or painful eye or eyelids
- Recently occurring flashes and floaters
- Recent and sudden loss of vision
- Foreign body in the eye
This service is not an eye test and does not cover long standing or major eye conditions that are being regularly monitored by your optometrist or hospital eye service. If you’re experiencing contact lens issues, you should discuss these with your Optician. The CUES service is open 7 days a week between 08:00 and 20:00, and can be accessed via the following telephone numbers: Bedfordshire & Luton Residents: Call: 0800 316 9200 Milton Keynes Residents: Call: 0333 015 1844 For more information, please visit our community-urgent-eyecare-service-cues/ page
If you are aged over 18 and are experiencing worries, anxieties and stresses or feeling low or depressed from whatever is going on in your life and you’re not your usual self you can refer yourself to a local Wellbeing Service, or if you prefer, go through your GP. Our local Wellbeing Services provide a range of free and confidential talking therapies and specialist support who will help you to feel better. Bedfordshire residents: www.bedfordshirewellbeingservice.nhs.uk or call 01234 880400 Luton residents – www.totalwellbeingluton.org/home or call 0300 555 4152 Milton Keynes residents: www.mktalkingtherapies.nhs.uk or call 01908 725099 Self-help materials including tips, guides, tools and activities are also available on-line www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/
- Local GP Services
Local GP Services
In Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes we have 93 GP practices. Find for your nearest GP practice.
If you’ve been unwell for more than 48 hours and need medical help, you can book an appointment with a healthcare professional at your GP practice. When you contact the GP practice, they will direct you to the healthcare professional best suited for your health care needs. GP practices provide many ways you can access their services including on-line consultations, telephone, video and face-to-face appointments. You can also use the NHS App to access some services available from your GP Practice.
If you need a routine appointment in the evening or weekend, your practice has the option, where agreed appropriate, to book you an appointment with Extended Access Services.
- Local NHS Dentists
Local NHS Dentists
A range of dental treatments are available on the NHS such as routine check-ups and scale and polish as well as crowns, abscesses, dentures, orthodontics and root canal treatment.
If you need urgent dental care, contact your usual dentist if you have one, as some surgeries offer emergency dental appointments. You can also contact NHS 111 who can put you in touch with an urgent dental service.
To find your nearest NHS Dentist, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist
- NHS 111
If you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do, NHS 111 can help. You can contact the NHS 111 service online at www.111.nhs.uk or you can call 111 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your symptoms will be assessed and you will be provided with healthcare advice. This may include:
- To visit a Pharmacy
- To contact your GP Practice
- To contact an Urgent Treatment or Walk-in Centre
- To attend A&E
If needed NHS111 can also send an ambulance or where available can also book appointment times to some services.
- Local Urgent Care Services
Local Urgent Care Services
If you are very unwell, but it’s not an emergency, NHS111 can make you an appointment at a local Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) or you can use a Walk-in Centre (WiC).
Bedford UTC Bedford Hospital (Cauldwell Centre), Kempston Road MK42 9DJ Putnoe Walk-in Centre, 93 Queens Drive, Putnoe, Bedford MK41 9JE Luton UTC Town Centre GP Surgery, 14-16 Chapel Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2SE Milton Keynes UCC Milton Keynes Hospital, Standing Way, Eaglestone, Milton Keynes MK6 5NG Service available: 11am – 11pm 365 days a year (Appointments available via NHS 111 if clinically appropriate) Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm Weekends and bank holidays 8am to 5pm 365 days per year 8am to 8pm Doors close at 6pm daily when access is via NHS 111 appointment only Open 24 hours a day (Appointments available via NHS 111 if clinically appropriate)
- Mental Health Services
Mental Health Services
If you are currently experiencing a mental health crisis or supporting someone in crisis, support is available 24 hours every day for adults, children or young people.
Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Mind Crisis Café (Adults 18+): Call 01525 722225 (5pm to 11pm, 365 days per year)
Bedfordshire and Luton residents: Call 111 and select option 2.
Milton Keynes residents: Call 111 or 0800 023 4650 for out- of hours crisis support
- Pregnancy and Maternity Services
Pregnancy and Maternity ServicesOur local hospitals and community midwives provide a range of services to support you through your pregnancy and birth.You can refer yourself directly to maternity services through the hospital website where an online form is available. Alternatively, you can contact a midwife through your GP practice.It is important that you contact the service as soon as you find out you’re pregnant to make sure you get all the information and support you need to have a healthy pregnancy. Your first appointment with a midwife should happen before you’re 10 weeks pregnant.If you need to contact the maternity services in an emergency, please call:Bedford Hospital triage line: 01234 795805Luton and Dunstable Hospital triage line: 01582 502285Milton Keynes University Hospital Labour ward: 01908 996471