Opening Times

Monday 8am-6.30pm
Tuesday 8am-6.30pm
Wednesday 8am-6.30pm
Thursday 8am-1pm
Friday 8am-6.30pm

Services & Clinics


Sight & Hearing Tests

Sight Tests

Everybody should have a sight test every two years, or more often if recommended by an optometrist. During your sight test the optometrist will check what you can see close up and in the distance usually using special charts of symbols or letters. This will enable them to understand whether you need glasses or a change of prescription.  They will ask you about your eyesight, lifestyle, health and any previous eye problems you or family members may have had.  Make sure you take a list of any medication you take, along with your glasses if you use them, or a previous glasses prescription.

For those who are unable to answer questions, there are other ways of testing sight. This is useful for young children or those with learning difficulties or special educational needs.

As well as providing an overall eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  The optometrist will tell you if they find any problems with your eyes and if there is something which needs further medical checks, they will write to your doctor or the eye hospital for you. They will provide you with a written statement of your results which includes your glasses prescription if you need one. They will also tell you how often you should go for a sight test.

You qualify for a free NHS-funded sight test if:

  • you’re aged under 16
  • you’re aged 16, 17 or 18 and are in full-time education
  • you’re aged 60 or over
  • you’re registered as partially sighted (sight impaired) or blind (severely sight impaired)
  • you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
  • you’re 40 or over, and your mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter has been diagnosed with glaucoma
  • you’ve been advised by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) that you’re at risk of glaucoma
  • you’re a prisoner on leave from prison
  • you’re eligible for an NHS complex lens voucher – your optometrist (optician) can advise you about your entitlement

You’re also entitled to a free NHS sight test if you:

  • receive Income Support
  • receive Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (not Contribution-based)
  • receive Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
  • receive Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • are awarded Universal Credit
  • are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
  • you are named on a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)

When you go for your sight test, tell your ophthalmic practitioner that you’re entitled to a free NHS sight test. They will give you a form called GOS1 to fill in and sign.

Mobile sight test

If you qualify for a free NHS sight test, you may be entitled to NHS-funded mobile services where the ophthalmic practitioner comes to visit you:

  • at home – if you’re unable to leave home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
  • at a residential or care home – if you normally live there and you’re unable to leave the home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability
  • at a day centre – if you would have difficulty getting a sight test from an optometrist at their practice because of physical or mental illness or disability, or because you have difficulty communicating your health needs without help

Call 111 to find out who provides mobile sight tests in your area.

If you don’t qualify for a free NHS sight test, you will have to pay for a private sight test.  The cost of private sight tests varies, so it’s advisable to shop around.

Hearing tests

There are a variety of ways you can have your hearing tested.

Do it yourself

If you think you may have a hearing loss but are not sure you can undertake a quick hearing test over the phone or online.  These may be useful to give an early indication, but are not a substitute for a full hearing test.  It is not advisable to buy a hearing aid on the basis of an online test so if you still think you are having hearing difficulties please contact your GP.

Action on Hearing Loss over-the-phone hearing check – 0844 800 3838 (local rate call). This service is completely automated (you won’t have to speak to anyone) and anonymous.

Or you can do a free online hearing check at Action on Hearing Loss, the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA), or Boots Hearing Care.

Face to face

Some GPs and private hearing aid dispensers offer to do a short hearing test. These tests are usually free, take about 15 minutes, and can indicate if you have a hearing problem. If a short hearing test suggests you have a hearing problem, the next step is to have a full hearing assessment.

A full hearing test appointment lasts up to an hour, and can be carried out by your GP surgery, hospital clinic, or by a private hearing aid dispenser.  Most GPs don’t have the equipment to do a full hearing test in the surgery, but they can examine your ears to check for obvious problems, like a build-up of earwax, and treat the cause if necessary.

Your GP can also give you a referral to an NHS hospital specialist to have your ears and hearing thoroughly checked and an NHS hearing aid fitted.

At the NHS hospital clinic

In the clinic, you’ll be seen by an audiologist (and possibly by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor first, if your GP has requested it). Before the audiologist tests your hearing, you will be asked some questions about your hearing and they will look in your ears. You’ll then have a hearing test lasting about 20 minutes.

During the hearing test, you’ll sit in a soundproof booth or room with headphones on while the audiologist presents a series of sounds. When you hear a sound, you signal to the audiologist, normally by pressing a button or raising your hand.

Private testing

You might choose to go directly to a private hearing aid dispenser instead of having your hearing tested on the NHS. Just as with the NHS route, a hearing aid dispenser will assess you with a full hearing test lasting up to an hour before deciding if you would benefit from wearing hearing aids. You don’t need a referral from your GP.

Some local hearing aid dispensers offer free testing, so it’s worth asking before you make an appointment.

The Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) keeps a list of qualified private hearing aid dispensers. You can use the HCPC’s online register to check if the hearing aid dispenser you’re about to use is registered.

Home testing 

If you are housebound, or have difficulty getting to the audiology department, discuss this with your GP. They can write to the NHS audiology department and request for an audiologist to come to your home if needed.

If you get your hearing aid privately you can find a hearing aid dispenser who will do a home visit through the BSHAA website. Some offer free home testing, so ask before you make an appointment.



Directory of Services for Care Navigation

Southend and Castle Point and Rochford

Smoking cessation services

  • Smokefree

Lifestyle services

  • Provide Essex Lifestyle Service (smoking cessation, lifestyle advice, self-management programmes for long term conditions) (not Southend)

  • My Weight Matters online programme (ACE)

  • ACE Lifestyle Southend (weight, exercise, smoking)    

  • Health and fitness apps

  • Couch to 5K (exercise programme)

  • Change 4 Life (healthy lifestyle advice)

  • Seated exercise programme

  • Seated exercise programme


Drugs and alcohol

  • Alcoholics Anonymous

  • Narcotics Anonymous

  • Open Road

  • Essex Specialist Treatment and Recovery Service

Long term conditions

  • Provide Essex Lifestyle Service (smoking cessation, lifestyle advice, self-management programmes for long term conditions) (not Southend)



  • British Heart Foundation (all areas of heart disease)

  • Heart UK (high cholesterol)

  • Pumping Marvellous (heart failure)  

  • British Society for Heart Failure (heart failure)

  • Blood Pressure association

  • Take Heart (patient support group)

  • Essex Heartbeat (support group for patients with rhythm problems and/or an implantable cardiac device)


  • Asthma UK

  • British Lung Foundation (all lung disease)

  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust

  • Living Well with COPD

  • Breathe Easy patient support group  (search on postcode for local services). Also provide singing classes, exercise classes and pulmonary fibrosis support groups.


  • Diabetes UK

  • (search on postcode for local services).


  • Helen Rollason Cancer Charity

  • Macmillan cancer support

  • Cancer Research UK

  • Sue Ryder

  • Prostate Cancer UK

  • Breast Cancer Care

  • Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

  • Bowel Cancer UK

  • Support groups (search on postcode for local services).

  • Support groups (search on postcode for local services).

Depression and anxiety

  • Therapy for You (South Essex)

  • MIND (search on postcode for local services)

  • South East and Central Essex MIND


  • CRUSE Bereavement care

  • Bereavement support at Fair Haven hospice


  • Dementia UK

  • NHS Choices Dementia guide

  • Alzheimer's Society

  • Alzheimer's Navigators  Tel: 01245 260911


  • Citizens advice

  • Carers UK

  • Age UK

  • Mind

  • MENCAP (learning disabilities)


Sexual health

  • Essex Sexual Health Service (not Southend)  search on postcode for local services providing sexual health and contraception services (includes pharmacies)

Dental services

  • Search for an NHS dentist

  • Call NHS England's Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233 if cannot find dentist accepting NHS patients.
  • NHS 111 can provide details of emergency dental services.

Miscellaneous information sources/ services

  • ECL (formerly Essex Cares - support to live independently for people with learning, physical, sensory or mental health needs)

  • Essex Age UK (expert advice, help at home, toe nail cutting, information on clubs and activities)
  • Clubs and groups directory

  • Living Well Essex (information and health support)

  • Gamblers Anonymous

  • Relate (relationship support)

  • Family Lives (parenting)

  • BEAT (eating disorders)

  • Refuge (domestic violence)