Finding health services and advice

Patient choice is at the heart of NHS care. If your GP refers you for a physical or mental health condition, you can often choose which hospital or health setting you go to receive care. 

There are many reasons why you may choose to receive care in one place over another: waiting times, location or even previous feedback about the service can influence your decision.

You can compare information about hospitals, services and other types of health settings on the NHS website.

Your GP

A General Practitioner or GP is your family doctor and is your main point of contact for your healthcare needs as a patient.

UK residents are entitled to have the care of an NHS GP, who help patients to manage their health and prevent illness. They are able to diagnose, treat and manage illness.

GP practices are usually the first contact if you have a health problem. They can treat many conditions and give health advice. They can also refer you to other NHS services and act as your advocate, representing your best interests.

Register with a GP

It is free to register with a GP.

It’s important that everyone is registered with a GP practice to be able to access the healthcare that they need. You do not need to show proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

Find your your local GP.

People who live in Tower Hamlets can now register at a GP practice without even visiting the surgery.

Register online with a GP 

Outside GP hours

Outside of GP hours, if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do, simply call 111 from your phone for quick access to advice and treatment. It’s free, even from a mobile phone.

You can also visit NHS 111 online.

Further information

For information on each service click on the blue bar below.

Anyone can become a carer at any age. As many as three in five people are expected to become a carer at some point.

The Carers Centre service supports people who provide regular unpaid care and support to someone living in Tower Hamlets. The centre offers information, advice and guidance on how to access and navigate support for all carers.

Dementia services

Find out about dementia services in Tower Hamlets.

Dentists, also known as dental surgeons, are medical professionals who specialise in helping people have good oral health.

Dentists work within their local communities to prevent and treat dental disease and correct dental issues and injuries.

Dentists help to protect your teeth and protect your gums from decay and disease.

Dental services are available on the NHS, which means that patients can get the clinical treatment they need to keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of pain.

Finding a dentist

You can use the NHS Choices website to search for doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmacies in your local area. The website includes maps and directions of how to find each service by road or by public transport.

Call 999

If you or someone you are with is seriously ill or injured and you feel their life is at risk, call 999 as soon as you can to arrange an ambulance.

Emergency departments

Emergency departments in hospitals get very busy and we ask that you use them carefully. Please only go to the emergency department if you need immediate care for something that is very serious or life-threatening.

Your local emergency department is at The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, London E1 1FR.

There is no emergency department at Mile End Hospital.

Mental health

If you feel that your mental health is deteriorating and you or someone else is in danger of physical harm including self-harm, it is free to call the Tower Hamlets Mental Health Crisis Line service. It is available 24/7 every day of the year.

An Extended Mental Health Crisis service is also available for people under 18.

Need urgent medical advice, but it’s not an emergency?

If you are unsure whether you need emergency care, or if you are unwell but it’s not life-threatening, you can get still get medical help.

Call your GP or, if your GP is closed, simply call 111 from your phone for quick and free access to advice and treatment. You can also visit NHS 111 online. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Royal London Hospital

The Royal London Hospital is a leading, internationally renowned teaching hospital based in Whitechapel. It offers a full range of local and specialist services, which includes one of the largest children's hospitals in the UK.

The Royal London is also one of the capital's leading trauma and emergency care centres and home to London’s Air Ambulance.

It also hosts the Royal London Dental Hospital - a leading specialist hospital for first-class dental and oral health care.

Mile End Hospital

Mile End Hospital is a shared facility for a range of rehabilitation, mental health, community services and specialist diagnostics including the Mile End Early Diagnosis Centre.

The Tower Hamlets Centre for Mental Health is located at the Mile End Hospital . It provides a wide range of services for people who require inpatient support and care for mental health problems or a mental health crisis. The unit aims to provide short and focused admissions in a 24 hour, seven day a week supportive and safe environment.

Family and friends are encouraged to stay in contact with patients but please be aware that measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 may mean that visiting arrangements change. Please phone the centre to find out more.

Older Person’s Clinic

The Older Person’s Clinic is for frail people to enable the early recognition of underlying problems and to identify support needed for living well in later years.

The service provides a physical and mental health assessment and signposts patients to different services for further input if and when needed. Assessments are carried out in the person’s home and at hospital, depending on what assessment is required. Referral is via GP.

Falls assessments, advice and exercise programmes to prevent falls are provided by therapists. Exercise programs can be individually tailored and/or attending in groups such as the Wellbeing Group where not just falls issues are addressed, but also the wellbeing of the person. Referral is via the GP using the TH Single Point of Access or other health and social care professionals.

Care Navigation Service

The Care Navigation Service provides support and coordination for people who have complex health and social care needs.

The service aims to navigate the person through the health and social care system and help to enhance the communication between the  person, their carers and other professionals and services the person comes in contact with.

The person and carers can be signposted to other services both in statutory and voluntary services, such as befriending and housing support. Referrals are accepted from statutory and non-statutory services. Patients can self refer.

Pharmacists are experts in medicine who can help you with minor health concerns.

Pharmacists are trained in managing mild illnesses and can give general health and wellbeing advice. They can offer over-the counter advice for minor health issues and can also advise if you should make an appointment to see your GP.

Pharmacists can help you with your medicines needs and can support with prescription queries.

Social prescribing provides vital support and care to help Tower Hamlets residents improve their health and wellbeing without medical intervention.

Often, patients visit their GP for reasons other than clinical problems, as they might not know where to access support for wider social issues such as welfare advice, isolation or housing problems that we know can negatively impact their overall health and wellbeing. 

Our team of social prescribers, with their wealth of local knowledge, can hold the key to finding the right services or organisations to help local people.

In East London we have dedicated NHS centres called ‘All East’ which provide free and confidential sexual health services.

The centres can help with everything from sexual health screenings, including HIV testing, to contraception services.

You can walk in or book an appointment online.

Find out about Sexual health services in Tower Hamlets.

Specialised health services support people with a range of complex conditions such as cancers, genetic disorders or medical or surgical conditions.

If you wish to be referred to a specialist in a particular field, you can speak with your GP. Your GP generally understands your health history and treatments better than anyone else and will base any decision for a specialist referral on this knowledge.

For advice on accessing specialist NHS care see referrals for specialist care.

You can use the NHS Choices website to search for doctors, dentists, hospitals and pharmacies in your local area. The website includes maps and directions of how to find each service by road or by public transport.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which operates The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and Mile End Hospital offers a range of specialist services.

The Continence Service

The Continence Service is provided by specialist continence nurses (SCN) with advanced theoretical and knowledge of bladder and bowel dysfunction. They offer advice, training and an advanced specialist clinical service in the prevention and treatment of incontinence. Patients can self-refer or via their health specialist.

Foot Health Service

The Foot Health Service can help with a range of conditions which affect foot health such as diabetics with foot complications, circulatory conditions or congenital deformity. The service treats those with high risk conditions which affect the foot. The service accepts referrals from GPs.

Healthwatch Tower Hamlets is here to find out what you really think about your local health and social care services. Your experiences should be at the heart of NHS and social care services and should influence any changes to come.

Through its membership and volunteers, Healthwatch Tower Hamlets can act as the eyes and ears of the people of Tower Hamlets, working closely with existing voluntary and community groups and its partners, they are able to see and investigate important local issues and trends.

Contact:
www.healthwatchtowerhamlets.co.uk
Tel: 0800 145 5343
email: info@healthwatchtowerhamlets.co.uk.