What service do I need?
A&E department or call 999
Going to A&E or calling 999 should be reserved for when someone is seriously ill or severely injured. Examples of when urgent care should be used include:
- loss of consciousness
- a very confused state
- fits that are not stopping
- persistent, severe chest pain (symptoms of a heart attack)
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
- symptoms of a stroke (confusion, slurred speech, face drooped on one side, muscle weakness in arms, sudden severe headache)
More useful information on when to call 999 and how to respond to an emergency situation can be found on the NHS Choices website.
Call NHS 111
If you need urgent medical help or information, or are unsure of what service you need call NHS 111. It is a free service, available 24/7, made up of clinically trained staff.
The 111 service does not diagnose you over the phone, rather they rule out a potential diagnosis. When a point is reached where something cannot be ruled out you are referred to the best care relevant to your symptoms.
Visit your GP
If you have been feeling unwell for a while and it isn’t easing it is likely that you need to visit your doctor. Symptoms to get checked out by your GP include:
Pharmacy & self-care
If you are feeling under the weather, one of the first steps you can take is to visit your local pharmacist. Pharmacists are an excellent source of help and can give advice for a wide variety of symptoms.
This means you don’t have to spend time waiting in GP practice where you could catch other bugs and illnesses.
As well as the pharmacist, the NHS Choices website can provide lots of useful information on the following: