NHS 111 makes it easier for you to access local NHS HEALTHCARE SERVICES. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but itís not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time. You can also dial 111 when the surgery is closed
What is an emergency?
When it comes to your health or the health of someone in your family, it is often very obvious if the person is seriously ill and needs immediate emergency care.
An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation.
To help you decide what a critical situation is, here are some examples:
loss of consciousness,
a suspected stroke,
severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
suspected broken bones,
a deep wound such as a stab wound,
persistent severe chest pain
difficulty in breathing,
severe burns, and
a severe allergic reaction.
Acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
If an ambulance is needed call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the ambulance number throughout the European Union.
Major A&E departments offer access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, although not all hospitals have an A&E department. At A&E a doctor or nurse will assess your condition and decide on further action.
Is it a genuine emergency?
If so, call 999 and donít panic. Always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
112 is the single emergency telephone number for the European Union and will get you through to the emergency services wherever you are in the EU.
When you call 999 an operator will answer your call and ask you which emergency service you need. In a medical emergency make sure you ask for the ambulance service and you will be put through to an ambulance call handler who will ask you for your address, the phone number you are calling from and what has happened. This will allow them to determine the most appropriate response as quickly as possible.
At the same time another member of staff, called a dispatcher, will be managing which ambulance resource to send to you.
Do not hang up
Wait for a response from the ambulance control room as they might have further questions for you. The person who handles your call will let you know when they have all the information they need. You might also be instructed on how to give first aid until the ambulance arrives.
Will an ambulance attend?
Dialling 999 does not necessarily mean that an ambulance wil be dispatched. The call handler will decide what is appropriate after you have given the required information. It may be safe enough for you to be seen elsewhere, or you can be given telephone advice by a medically trained clinical advisor. However, an ambulance will be sent to you if it is a life-threatening emergency.
There are a number of things you can do to assist the ambulance service
if you are in the street, stay with the patient until help arrives
call back the ambulance service if the patient's condition changes
call back the ambulance service if your location changes
If you are calling from home or work, ask someone to open the doors and signal where the ambulance staff are needed
lock away family pets
if you can, write down the patient's details and collect any medication they are taking
if you can, inform the parmedics about any allergies the patient has
If appropriate, you may want to call the patient's doctor. The doctor may meet you at the A&E department, or call with important information about the patient.
When it's not a life-threatening emergency
If the situation is not a life-threatening emergency and you or the person you are with do not need immediate medical attention, consider other options before you dial 999.
If you need an emergency response, the ambulance service will send either an emergency ambulance, rapid response vehicle or motorbike, cycle response unit, a community first responder or a combination of these.
For minor injuries that cannot be self-treated, please dial 1-1-1 or go to the nearest Minor Injuries Unit:
Cuts/grazes and lacerations
Sprains and strains
Broken bones (fractures)
Bites and stings (including human/animal bites)
Minor head injuries
Minor eye infections, foreign bodies and scratches.
If the problem is simple or you are unsure whether a minor injury can be self-treated you could discuss the matter with NHS 111 or consult your local pharmacist.
Ring NHS 111 for the latest information on location and opening times of your local Minor Injuries Unit
If a person's mental or emotional state quickly worsens, this can be treated as a mental health emergency or mental health crisis. In this situation, it's important to get help as soon as possible. Dial 111 to find out where help is available.
If you feel the person is in immediate danger then call 999