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choose well advice

Choosing the right service if your child is unwell

Our Emergency Department (A&E) is for children up to the age of 16 who need emergency medical attention or who have had an accident.

An emergency is a situation where a child or young person is experiencing a loss of consciousness, heavy bleeding, suspected broken bones, chest pain, breathing difficulties, an overdose, has swallowed something harmful, poisoning or has a deep wound.

The Emergency Department can be very busy so before visiting please think:

  • is this an emergency or accident?
  • can I wait and see my GP?
  • could another GP help me?
  • would an alternative service be better and quicker?

The information below helps you to choose the right NHS service.

Further information and leaflets are available from the Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).


E.g. coughs, colds, sore throat, grazed knee

You can treat your child’s very minor injuries and illnesses at home. Some illnesses can be treated in your own home with support and advice from the services listed below when required.

In case your child gets ill, it is good to be prepared with essential medicines such as age appropriate paracetamol and ibuprofen, plasters and a thermometer.

Please do not give aspirin to children under 16 as this can cause serious complications.

NHS 111

Unsure, confused or need help

NHS 111 is a free to call service which will help you when you need to access medical and dental help fast but it is not an emergency.

It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you access local urgent health care services.

Call 111 free from a landline or mobile. To access the NHS 111 service via textphone call 18001 111.

Pharmacist (chemist)

E.g. mild diarrhoea, mild skin irritation, mild fever

Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional and can suggest medicines for your child and offer advice on common illnesses like cold symptoms (runny nose, cough or sore throat) and skin irritations, without the need for a GP appointment.

Most now have a quiet area where you can speak to the pharmacist more privately and many are open during the evenings and weekends.

Some pharmacies participate in the Minor Ailments Scheme which means that they can supply you with free medication for your child without needing a prescription from your GP. Childhood ailments covered by the scheme include nappy rash, colds, coughs, fever and head lice.

To find your nearest pharmacy visit NHS Choices or call NHS 111.

GP (doctor)

E.g. high temperature, minor bumps and cuts, dehydration and things that aren’t getting any better

If your child has an illness or injury that won’t go away, make an appointment with your GP. They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions.

For urgent GP out-of-hours calls just ring your GP’s normal number.

To find your local GP surgery opening times and out-of-hours service go to NHS Choices.

NHS walk-in services

If you cannot get to see your GP and it’s not getting any better

Walk-in services treat minor illnesses and injuries that do not need a visit to A&E.

Sheffield’s walk-in services are open 365 days a year. You do not need an appointment and will be seen by an experienced nurse or doctor.

Sheffield NHS Walk-in Centre (adults and children) for minor illnesses and ailments
Broad Lane
S1 3PB

Open 8am – 10pm.

A&E or 999

E.g. choking, severe bleeding, blacking out, severe abdominal pain, limb/facial paralysis

Accident and emergency departments and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a serious or life-threatening situation. A&E provides immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. If you telephone 999 the telephone advisor may send a response vehicle to your location.

Emergency services are very busy. They should only be used in very serious or life-threatening situations.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital has an Emergency Department for children up to the age of 16.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital Emergency Department
Western Bank
S10 2TH

Open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

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