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When to visit an urgent treatment centre (UTC)

Urgent treatment centres (UTCs) provide medical help when it's not a life-threatening emergency. They can diagnose and deal with many of the common problems people go to A&E for.

When urgent treatment centres can help instead of A&E

Urgent treatment centres are usually staffed by nurses. If you need one, you can often get tests like an ECG (electrocardiogram), blood tests or an X-ray.

They can help with things like: 

  • sprains and strains
  • suspected broken bones
  • injuries, cuts and bruises
  • stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea 
  • skin infections and rashes
  • high temperature in children and adults
  • mental health concerns

If you need a prescription one can be organised for you. Emergency contraception is also available.

NHS 111 online can help if you think you need urgent medical help

If an urgent treatment centre is not right for your problem you will be offered alternative services.

UTCs are separate from A&E, although some might be located in the same hospital building.

Letting them know you're coming

If you use NHS 111 and an urgent treatment centre is recommended, 111 can sometimes send your details so the service knows when to expect you. 

You do not need an appointment to visit a UTC.

You do not need to be registered with a GP or have a fixed address to use any UTC.

What you should take with you

It's helpful if you bring your prescription, or any medicines you are taking with you. 

You do not need to know your NHS number.

What happens when you get there

Go to reception. If you need help in another language, ask for a British Sign Language (BSL) or other interpreter.

If the UTC is expecting you because you used NHS 111, they will already have your details.

If the UTC is not expecting you, they’ll ask about the reason for your visit and for some personal details.

Some urgent treatment centres have a self-assessment tool that you use on arrival. If they know you are coming, you should not need to use it.

The self-assessment tool helps work out what order patients should be seen in. People who are the most unwell will be seen first, so sometimes people who arrive after you might be seen before you.


It’s important to let a member of the UTC staff know if you start to feel worse while you’re waiting.

What happens next

You will usually be assessed and treated on site, but you can be referred on to other services if necessary.

If you are registered with one, your GP surgery will be contacted afterwards with an update on why you used the service and any treatment you got while there.

Page last reviewed: 20 September 2021
Next review due: 20 September 2024