Using Lewisham Services




Thank you for registering with our GP practice.  This leaflet will give you information about local health services in Lewisham and the best way to take care of yourself and your family when you feel ill.


What you can expect from your GP service

Your GP is your main point of contact for all your general healthcare needs.  Your GP will help you to manage your health and prevent ill ness and is trained in all areas of general medicine.  They are there to help make sure you get the best and most appropriate health and/or social care service that you may need.

When you make an appointment to see your GP, or any other healthcare service, it is really important that you let them know if you cannot attend.   Thousands of appointments are wasted when patients do not turn up and could have been offered to someone else.

Your GP is trained to treat and manage any sudden illness and also any on-going condition you might have suchas asthma, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  If you have any of these conditions and have regular reviews with your GP it is really important that you attend your appointments so that your GP can monitor your conditionand help you to stay well.  

Many practices also provide immunisations, sexual health services, and advice on stopping smoking, managing alcohol consumption and managing your weight. Please check with your practice to find out what is provided.

You usually will not need an appointment with your GP for repeat prescriptions or requests for medical certificates etc.   


How the health service works

The NHS is the world’s largest publicly funded health service.   The NHS has undergone some big changes in recent times including the introduction of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in April 2013.   NHS Lewisham CCG is led by clinicians and is responsible for planning, buying and monitoring most of the health services you will use in Lewisham.  The CCG is a membership organisation which means each of the GP practices in Lewisham is a member and helps to make decisions.   NHSEngland is the organisation responsible for GP services, pharmacists, opticiansand dentists.

The NHS has a Constitution which sets out what patients, the public and staff can expect from the NHS andwhat the NHS expects from them in return.  For more information visit the NHS website


Choosing the right service when you are ill

It is really important that you choose the right service when you feel ill.   Many people go to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department when they could be treated more quickly and appropriately elsewhere.  A&E is for urgent, serious and life threatening accidents and injuries.  

The Pharmacy First scheme provides advice, treatment and medicines for common ailments from your local pharmacy. How does it work?

If you have any common ailments, you can access the Pharmacy First scheme in two ways:

Visit one of the pharmacies taking part in the Pharmacy First scheme.  You will be seen promptly by a member of the pharmacy team and you can ask to be seen in private.

Some practices use this scheme and may give you a voucher (one per patient) to take to the pharmacy. 


Take care of yourself at home

Minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, grazes, hangover, sore throat can all be treated at home and that isthe best place for you.  A big part of your recovery is to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Plan ahead and stock up on healthcare essentials such as pain relief, indigestion remedies and plasters etc.



Pharmacists give expert, confidential advice and treatment and you don’t need an appointment.  You can get their advice on a range of conditions such as diarrhoea, headache, painful cough, runny nose etc.



Your GP is your first port of call for any routine/urgent illness and on-going conditions. Using your GP saves time as they know your medical history. 

GP services are available 24/7.  If you need to see a GP outside of normal opening hours you can use the South East London doctors on call (SELDOC) service on 020 8693 9066.  This out of hours service is run by local GPs and they will provide you with an over the phone consultation or ask you to attend one of their clinics for an out of hours appointment.   


Urgent Care Centre

The urgent care centre at Lewisham Hospital is available to treat injuries and illnesses which require immediate help when your need is urgent.  It is located in the same place as the A&E department and on arrival you will be treated by the relevant department depending on your clinical need.  You should always consider what other service you can use before attending the urgent care centre.   



When you have a serious injury such as blacking out, chest pain, choking, struggling to breathe, bleeding you cannot stop you need to come to A&E.  The service provides urgent treatment for serious, life threatening conditions.  You should travel to A&E yourself if you can.  If someone is too ill, for example if they have collapsed or can’t breathe, dial 999 for anambulance.


Staying Well

We are all responsible for our own good health and there is lots of advice available about how to keepwell.  This includes eating a healthy diet, taking exercise and sleeping well.  If you are smoking, drinking too much alcohol or using drugs then there are services in Lewisham that can help you (see section 6).

We encourage you to have any health screening that is recommended for your age group to help protect your health and identify any problems early enough to be treated.   If you care for children, please make surethat they are up to date with all their immunisations to protect them from serious illness.   If you are over 40 anddo not have any long term health conditions, then you are entitled to a free NHS Health Check.  You can have this at your GP surgery, through some local pharmacists or even in some communitysettings.  For more information or to book an appointment call:   Freephone 08081410 118 .

If you have a long term condition, you are more at risk of becoming ill, especially during the winter.   Please make sure that you are getting the support you need to manage your condition from your GP or any other services and take care of your health.  The reare community support groups available in Lewisham to help support people with diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma etc.   If you would like any more information about any of these groups you can email  or call 020 3417 4727


Be more involved in your care

Patients who talk with their health care provider tend to be happier with their care and have better results.   Try to be prepared when you have a medical appointment and ask all the questions that you need to especially if your doctor feels you need further tests or investigations.   Any decision about your healthcare needs to be made jointly between your doctor and you.  After your appointment always follow your doctor’s instructions and if you do not understand them after you get home please call your practice or the service where you were seen.  

If you want to get more involved in your local practice, then join your practice Patient ParticipationGroup (PPG).   Almost every Lewishampractice has a PPG and your practice receptionist should be able to give you more information.     

NHS Lewisham CCG is committed to involving and seeking the views of patients to help them decide what services are needed and how current ones could be improved.  If you would like to get more involved in in this work, please email, call 020 7206 3200 or by visiting the CCG website  

You can also contact Healthwatch Lewisham.  This organisation is there to make sure your views on local health and social care services are listened to. Healthwatch uses your views to report on what services are doing well and make recommendations on how they can be improved.  Healthwatch can provide you with information and signposting about local services and what to do when things go wrong.  You can email or call 020 3417 4727.


Services in Lewisham

There are a range of health services available in Lewisham.  These include:

  • GP practices including the out of hours GP service for when your practice is closed.
  • Pharmacists – there is one on almost every high street in the borough and more in small residential areas
  • Dentists – please make sure you are registered with a local dentist.  To find your nearest dental practice please visit the NHS website or call NHS England on 0300 311 22 33
  • Hospital – Lewisham Hospital is our main hospital and is part of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.  If you need any hospital treatment your doctor will refer you there or to another hospital ifmore appropriate for the treatment you may need.  You do have a choice in where you are treated.  Visit the website by clicking here or call 020 8333 3000
  • Community health services – including health visitors, district nurses, school nurses, therapists and others. These services are provided by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.  For more information visit the website by clicking here or call 020 8333 3000
  • Mental health services – there are a range of mental health services available to meet different needs. These are provided by the South London and Maudsley NHS FoundationTrust.  If you are worried about yourmental health and need help please speak to your GP who will refer to you the best service to help you.
  • Stop smoking services – Call 0800 0820 388
  • Drug and Alcohol services – Call 020 8314 5566 

More information is available at the NHS website


More information

If you need anymore information about local health services you can contact Healthwatch Lewisham at or call 020 3417 4727.  You can also visit the NHS website or the Lewisham CCG website

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Published by NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group

CantileverHouse, Eltham Road, London, SE12 8RN

Telephone: 020 7206 3200

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