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Urgent and emergency care services in England

Minor injuries units (MIUs) and urgent care centres (UCC)

If you have an illness that is not life threatening, contact your GP surgery first if possible. You can still call your GP outside normal surgery hours, but you will usually be directed to an out-of-hours service. The out-of-hours period is 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at weekends and bank holidays.

You can also call NHS 111, which can give you advice or direct you to the best local service to treat your injury. Alternatively, use our symptoms checker to assess your symptoms online and receive personalised advice on the best action to take. 

If your injury is not serious, you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) or urgent care centre (UCC), rather than going to an A&E department. This will allow A&E staff to concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions and will save you a potentially long wait.

There are there are around seven million attendances at type 3 A&E services (WiCs, UCCs and MIUs) in England. MIUs and urgent care centres are usually led by nurses and an appointment is not necessary.

Some MIUs, UCCs and walk-in centres do not have facilities to treat young children. This depends on the capacity, resources or skill levels available at the departments. Contact your local MIU, UCC or walk-in centre in advance if you are not sure whether you or your child can be treated there. 

Minor injuries units and urgent care centres can treat:

  • sprains and strains
  • broken bones
  • wound infections
  • minor burns and scalds
  • minor head injuries
  • insect and animal bites
  • minor eye injuries
  • injuries to the back, shoulder and chest

If there is not a minor injuries unit in your area, these services will also be provided by an A&E department

Minor injuries units and urgent care centres cannot treat:

  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • major injuries
  • problems usually dealt with by a GP
  • stomach pains
  • gynaecological problems
  • pregnancy problems
  • allergic reactions
  • overdoses
  • alcohol related problems
  • mental health problems
  • conditions likely to require hospital admission

For more information about any of the conditions listed above visit the Health A-Z section on this site.


The 4 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

BarryJoconnor said on 14 June 2015

Definitely not a good place to go with mental health issues, eventually I got the treatment I need but was nearly thrown out for being in the midst of a panic attack, a mentally ill person might not be able to know what access is available and the walkin centre seemed my only choice, bad mistake, the triage made me worse so don't go, access your nearest mental health team, they understand us clearly.

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injured said on 20 July 2013

I spent time reading this information to get direction as whether to take my husband to minor injuries with a badly infected eye the cause of which he was uncertain. Unfortunately it being a Saturday the DR's is closed.
On arrival at the MIU the "receptionist" in no uncertain terms informed him that as he could not be certain that it was an injury he should not attend the MIU as this was for INJURIES only. The only way he could be seen was to call 111, if they then directed him to the MIU hen he could be seen. At this point he insisted it was an injury and was then seen. The DR has now contacted the eye hospital for further advice. It was so obvious that there was something badly wrong with the eye.
I think this site should direct people to ring 111 just so as not to go through the awful experience we have just been through as basically they will not see you if you have not contacted 111
The information given above does not clearly state this fact.

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abssorb said on 16 July 2013

MIUs are a great idea. How do I find them?? The information needs to be available on the internet. I know where my local doctors surgery is, I know where my local A&E is. Where is the MIU?? Even searching in google shows no results! Which is pretty amazing in itself.

Your article says: "There are there are around seven million attendances at type 3 A&E services (WiCs, UCCs and MIUs) in England."


"Contact your local MIU or walk-in centre in advance if you are not sure whether you or your child can be treated there. "

How? Please publish phone numbers and postcodes of these centres.

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yurieal said on 24 October 2012

typo- alcohol related problems
not alcoho related problems

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Page last reviewed: 10/02/2015

Next review due: 10/02/2017

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