Please help support your local NHS by using the right service

Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro and the Emergency Department is extremely busy right now and, as we head into the weekend, we are asking people to use alternative services when they can.

We are seeing lots of people coming to the emergency department with minor conditions and some of these could be treated somewhere else, such as a by a GP, a pharmacist, by a nurse at one of our minor injury units or at home using over-the-counter medicines.

We’re really grateful to everyone who has helped us in the past by using the right service – it really does help - and we’re once again asking you to help the NHS so staff in the emergency department can focus on helping people with life-threatening conditions.

Emergency department

Please only use the emergency department if you have a genuine life-threatening emergency. This includes loss of consciousness; persistent, severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped; severe allergic reactions; severe burns or scalds and acute confused state and fits that don’t stop.

The emergency department is not the right place to treat sporting sprains and strains, minor fractures, broken bones, upset stomachs, insect bites and cuts, nor is it an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP practice is closed you can call NHS 111, which will direct you to the best local service to treat your injury. 


Please only call the 999 ambulance service for life threatening and emergency conditions. If a family member is experiencing chest pain or has become unconscious telephone 999 immediately. 

Minor injury units

If your injury is less severe, you can get help from a minor injuries unit (MIU) or the West Cornwall Hospital urgent care centre in Penzance. You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment. X-ray is available at some locations. 

Minor injury units are based at:

  • Bodmin Community Hospital
  • Camborne Redruth Community Hospital
  • Falmouth Community Hospital
  • Launceston Community Hospital
  • Liskeard Community Hospital
  • Newquay Community Hospital
  • St Austell Community Hospital
  • St Mary’s Community Hospital
  • Stennack Surgery, St Uves
  • Stratton Community Hospital, Bude
  • St Michael’s Hospital, Hayle
  • West Cornwall Hospital, Penzance

Click here for MIU opening times and contact details. 

Waiting times

If you do need to visit the emergency department, a minor injury unit or urgent care centre, you can see how long you may have to wait by using the online waiting time service, which shows the longest wait, how many people are waiting to be seen and how many people are in the department. It also includes opening times and x-ray availability. 


Pharmacists are highly trained clinicians who can provide confidential expert advice and over-the-counter treatments for a wide range of common illnesses and complaints, such as stomach upsets, allergies, insect bites, minor cuts, sticky and red eyes, nappy rash, skin conditions and coughs and colds. They can also arrange an urgent prescription for a supply of any prescribed medicines that run out, so you don’t have to use the out of hours’ service or the emergency department.

The emergency prescription service is also available for anyone who’s on holiday or visiting family. You can also get details of which pharmacies are open at the weekend and evenings on the NHS England website.

NHS 111

Please call NHS 111 if you need urgent medical advice when your GP surgery is closed, or you’re on holiday. Call handlers can tell you anything from where to find an emergency dentist to getting you an out-of-hour’s doctor. They can also arrange for a clinician to call you back, if needed.


Having a few basic items in your bathroom medicine cabinet can save you time and effort should you become ill. Items like paracetamol, a bandage, sticking plasters, and antiseptic cream or indigestion tablets. If troublesome symptoms persist or worsen see your GP, call 111 if your surgery is closed, or talk to a pharmacist.