Is it an emergency?


Every year, especially during the winter months, we see more people with underlying health problems who need to be admitted to hospital. It’s really important that our Accident and Emergency department (A&E) is able to help the patients who are really unwell.

Many people visit Accident and Emergency when they could have received the advice and care they needed from a different healthcare professional. Finding the right person to talk to will help you get the most appropriate advice and treatment. Before going to Accident and Emergency, think about whether you should visit:

  • A pharmacy – visiting your pharmacist can be a quick way of accessing medical help and advice. You don’t need an appointment and you can speak to your pharmacist in private and in confidence
  • Your GP – visit your GP if you or a family member has a condition that your pharmacist cannot treat, or for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, prescriptions, medical examinations, and referral to specialist services
  • A walk-in service – you do not need an appointment to visit an urgent care centre, minor injuries unit or walk-in centre
  • A dentist – emergency dental care services are available for those in pain requiring emergency treatment

If you’re not sure where to go call NHS 111 for advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is free to call from landlines and mobiles.

Accident & Emergency (A&E)

If the situation is an emergency and you need immediate care dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.

An emergency might include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Suspected heart attack or stroke
  • Suspected meningitis
  • Suspected broken bones
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Sudden and severe headaches
  • Severe burns
  • Severe injuries requiring hospital treatment
Accident and Emergency should only be used in extreme circumstances. Please only visit Accident and Emergency if it’s a serious or life threatening situation. If you access Accident and Emergency inappropriately, you may be turned away and directed to another NHS service.