When to go to A&E

 

 

There are over 20 million attendances at accident and emergency (A&E) departments each year. Research has shown that many of these could be better dealt with elsewhere.

A&E departments assess and treat patients with serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped

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.

If it is not an immediate emergency call NHS 111. The 111 service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide medical advice and advise you on the best local service to offer the care you need.

Less severe injuries can be treated in minor injuries services and NHS walk-in centres, which can treat patients without an appointment.

The information on this page is taken from NHS Choices.