Do I Need To See a GP?

Below you will find a very handy guide to community health services in Midlothian and how to use them. A significant amount of doctors appointments could have been taken care of by a different health-care professional, help us protect your NHS.

There are lots of services that can help you if you are unwell. This guide gives information and advice about how and when to use services in the best way. Keep it handy.

Self Care

Self care

The most important type of care is selfcare. Selfcare is about looking after ourselves so that we stay healthy. It’s also about taking care of ourselves when we are ill. Before asking for an NHS appointment, why not think about how you can help yourself? You might find the following websites and phone numbers useful:

  • NHS Inform: or 0800 224 488 Information about healthy living, illnesses or health conditions, injuries, how to look after yourself and when to seek advice
  • NHS24 helpline: 111

Advice 24 hours a day on health problems

  • Treat yourself better:

Advice on what to do if you have cold or flu symptoms

Includes fact sheets about looking after yourself when you are ill

Healthy Living

Healthy living

For advice on healthy eating, exercise and stopping smoking:

For help to stop smoking, ask your pharmacist or contact:

  • Midlothian Stop Smoking Service: 0131 537 9914

If you are interested in exercise and being more active visit:

If you are over 50 and want to be more active:

  • Ageing well – for people aged 50+: 0131 561 6506

For information about local activities and support to get out and about:

  • British Red Cross Community Co-ordinators: 0131 654 0340

Common Illnesses or Advice on Medicines

Community pharmacist

Your community pharmacist can give you advice or treatment for many minor illnesses such as:

  • Acne
  • Athletes Foot
  • Backache
  • Cold Sores
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry Eyes
  • Earache and Ear Wax
  • Eczema and Allergies
  • Emergency Contraception
  • Haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Mouth Ulcers
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Pain and period pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Sore Throat
  • Thrush
  • Threadworms
  • Warts and Verrucae

NHS Minor Ailment Service

If you are over 60, under 16, or receive certain benefits, you can use the NHS Minor Ailment Service. This means you can receive advice and free treatment from your community pharmacist for minor illnesses and conditions. Ask at your local pharmacy.

Your Practice Nurse

Practice nurses are experienced in dealing with many conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and a range of minor illnesses such as chest, urine and ear infections, as well as skin conditions.

Many can prescribe medications and arrange investigations. It is often quicker to get an appointment with the Practice Nurse than a GP. Ask your GP practice receptionist for advice on whether the nurse might be able to deal with your problem.

Dental & Mouth Problems

Dental and mouth problems

If you have a problem with your teeth, gums or mouth, contact your dentist. If you don’t have a dentist and you want to find one near you:

If you don’t have a dentist and need urgent treatment, you can go to a walk-in centre in Edinburgh:

  • 0131 536 4800 for more information

Muscle & Joint Problems

You can contact the physiotherapy service directly for muscle and joint problems such as back, neck, hip or knee pain. They can give advice and an appointment if necessary. 0800 917 9390 or go to

Foot Problems

Foot problems

If you have a foot problem you can go to:

Or, if you think you need an appointment with a Podiatrist, you can refer yourself – ask for a referral form at your GP practice.

Infants & Toddlers

Infants and toddlers

For advice and treatment for children and babies:

  • Ask your GP practice for your Health Visitor’s phone number
  • Ask your local Pharmacist
  • For advice on common infant and toddler illnesses –

Eye Problems

Eye problems

For problems like red eyes, painful eyes and visual problems such as floaters, cataracts and other changes in your vision, you can make an appointment at any high street optician. Opticians are trained

to recognise common eye problems. They can also provide treatment or refer you to specialist services if needed.

Hearing Problems

Hearing problems

Many high street opticians also offer hearing tests and help with existing hearing aids.



If you care for a family member, partner or friend and would like some advice, information or support contact VOCAL Midlothian:

VOCAL Midlothian run a Wee Breaks service which can help you plan and get funding for a break from caring:

Social Work Support

Social Work Support

For example if you need a home carer, aid or adaptation, contact: Adult Social Work 0131 271 3900 Children and Families Social Work 0131 271 3860

Depression, Anxiety & Mental Well-being

Depression, anxiety and mental wellbeing

Provides an overview of all local mental health services

  • Midlothian Wellbeing Access Point: 0131 536 8981

This is an open access service for people who don’t need medication or urgent treatment but might benefit from other therapies or support. Midlothian Wellbeing Access Point currently run drop in sessions at Midlothian Community Hospital and the Loganlea Centre, Penicuik

Provides a wide range support to people across Midlothian

Offers someone to talk to if your feelings are overwhelming you.

  • Samaritans: 116 123

Can help you understand your problems better, or just be there to listen. It is not just for people who feel suicidal.

Alcohol & Drug Problems

Alcohol and drug problems

  • Gateway to Recovery Clinics: 0131 660 6822 for more information These are drop in clinics for anyone looking for help with a drug or alcohol problem. No appointment necessary. The clinics are currently held in Dalkeith and Penicuik.
  • Mid and East Lothian Drug and Alcohol Partnership:

For a full list of advice and support services in Midlothian.

Young People

Young people

If you are aged 12-21 and you are looking for support or advice about sexual health, mental health or substance use, contact:

And If you Do Need Advice From A GP

Phone appointments

You can make a GP phone appointment instead of attending the GP practice. If you don’t need to be examined, a phone appointment can be quicker and easier. If the doctor feels they need to see you, they will ask you to come in.

If the receptionist asks what is wrong with you, please tell them.

They are asking so they can find the best appointment for you. Reception staff are bound by the same confidentiality rules as doctors and nurses. They are not allowed to tell people outside the practice anything about you.

And if you are unable to attend your GP appointment please phone and cancel – this means that your appointment can be offered to another patient. Around 4% of appointments are wasted as people do not turn up. This means there are hundreds of wasted appointments across Midlothian each month!