When should I call 999?

You should call 999 for an ambulance when it is obvious that you or another person is seriously ill and in need of immediate emergency medical care.

Here are some examples of situations when you should dial 999 immediately (please note, this list is not exhaustive):

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe loss of blood
  • Severe burns and scalds
  • Choking
  • Fitting/convulsions
  • Drowning
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Head injury.
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When not to call 999

We receive many calls from patients who do not need to go to hospital.  999 calls for minor illnesses and injuries can potentially put those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries at greater risk by using valuable resources inappropriately. Only dial 999 when someone is in need of time-critical life-saving help.

If it is not a life-threatening emergency and the patient does not need immediate medical attention, there are other NHS options available:

  • Self care
  • Pharmacy
  • GP
  • NHS 111

Make your own way to your local emergency department, walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre

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