These days it’s not unusual to hear horror stories of people having to wait up to eight hours or more to be seen in the UK’s NHS Accident and Emergency (A&E) Services.
So, it’s not too surprising to hear that many individuals are turning to private urgent care hospitals and drop-in GP clinics instead. That way, they aren’t having to queue in crowded public hospitals and can be seen much faster.
Difference between Emergency and Urgent Care
A&E centres are located in acute hospitals and are fully resourced to deal with critical, life-threatening illnesses or accidents which require immediate, intensive treatment.
Examples of life-threatening emergencies that are treated at an A&E include breathing difficulties, severe and persistent bleeding, loss of consciousness, chest pain, burns, severe allergic reactions, continuous fits and an acute confused state of mind.
A&E services follow a triaging system to ensure people with the most severe conditions are seen first. Patients presenting with life-threatening and high-risk conditions are seen immediately by a doctor.
NHS England defines urgent care as an illness or injury requiring urgent attention but not a life-threatening situation.
Here are some leading private urgent care centres in London with access to acute medical admission, if required.
St John & St Elizabeth Hospital
Offers a Walk-in Urgent Care Clinic for adults and children aged from one year upwards. Open seven days a week, the clinic sits at the front of the hospital, so it is easy to locate for those in a hurry. Visitors turning up can get seen by an experienced doctor more or less immediately. There is a fee for the initial consultation and further charges if treatment is necessary.
Telephone: 020 7432 8300
The Portland Hospital
The Urgent Care Centre for children at The Portland Hospital is for pediatric patients aged 0-17 years. At the moment, the service is accessible by appointment only, which must be made online or by phone. Consultations via a secure telemedicine platform are also available.
Telephone: 020 7390 6150
The Physicians’ Clinic
Offers an Acute Medical Admissions service to a number of private hospitals in London, including The Princess Grace Hospital and The Harley Street Clinic. Access to the admissions service is via a referral from your local GP or urgent care centre. The service is available 365 days a year between 6 am and 10 pm and is aimed to provide urgent access to private hospital care for private patients who become seriously ill.
Telephone: 020 7034 8180
The Princess Grace Hospital
The Urgent Care Centre offers walk-in appointments, face-to-face video and tele-consultations for adults (those aged 18 and over). The centre treats minor illnesses, and injuries and doctors can refer patients to specialist private consultants and avail onsite diagnostic imaging services if required. Advanced diagnostics such as ultrasound, CT and MRI are available at the hospital. The centre is open from 8 am until 10 pm, with the last patient seen at 9:30 pm.
Telephone: 020 3993 5662
The Wellington Hospital
The Urgent Care Centre at The Wellington Hospital accepts walk-in patients aged 18 and over. Virtual appointments are also available. The team can provide referrals to specialist private consultants and access onsite diagnostic imaging to provide rapid assessment and turnaround of results. Conditions that can be treated include minor head injuries, abdominal complaints, earache and minor ENT conditions, conjunctivitis, musculoskeletal injuries and repeat prescriptions.
Telephone: 020 3553 2651
The Lister Hospital, Chelsea
The Urgent Care Centre at The Lister Hospital is for walk-in patients aged 18 and over. A doctor and registered nurse at the centre offer prompt treatment and diagnostics for minor illnesses and accidents. The hospital does not treat life-threatening conditions such as major trauma, acute confusion, signs of heart attacks or stroke, or any emergencies involving patients under 18.
Telephone: 020 3131 6283
The hospitals mentioned in this article are London’s leading private urgent care centres providing quick medical attention for people suffering from minor injuries and non-life-threatening incidents. These do not replace emergency NHS services for life-threatening conditions.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening condition such as a sign of a heart attack, stroke, head injury, burns, major trauma, bleeding during pregnancy or breathing difficulties, please visit your nearest NHS A&E (see London map below) or dial 999 for immediate attention.