Emergency Help

If you are in a health emergency, call 999.

Text and Video Relay for d/Deaf Residents

d/Deaf people can use 18000 to contact 999 using text relay.

You can also call 999 using the 999 BSL video relay service. Visit their website to find out more and download the app.

You can also use Emergency SMS to text emergency services.

When should you go to Accident & Emergency (A&E)?

Accident and emergency departments are places in hospitals you go to if you have an emergency. 

You should only go there if you have a real health emergency that is serious and life-threatening.  

Adults should only go to A&E when:

  • There are signs of a heart attack (chest pain, pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across the chest)
  • There are signs of a stroke (face dropping on one side, cannot hold both arms up, difficulty speaking)
  • There is sudden confusion (delirium) and the person doesn't know their own name or age 
  • There has been a suicide attempt by taking something or self-harming  
  • Someone is having severe difficulty breathing, not being able to get words out, choking or gasping 
  • Someone is choking on liquids or solids right now 
  • Someone has heavy bleeding spraying, pouring or enough to make a puddle 
  • Someone has severe injuries after a serious accident or assault 
  • Someone is having a seizure (fit) shaking or jerking because of a fit, or unconscious (cannot be woken up) 
  • Someone has sudden, rapid swelling of the lips, mouth, throat or tongue 


Children should only be taken to A&E when:

  • They are having a seizure (fit) and they are shaking or jerking because of a fit, or unconscious (cannot be woken up) 
  • They are choking on liquids or solids now 
  • They are having difficulty breathing (making grunting noises or sucking their stomach in under their ribcage)
  • They are unable to stay awake (cannot keep their eyes open for more than a few seconds)
  • They have blue, grey, pale or blotchy skin, tongue or lips. On brown or black skin, grey or blue palms or soles of the feet 
  • They are limp and floppy (their head falls to the side, backwards or forwards)
  • There is heavy bleeding spraying, pouring or enough to make a puddle 
  • They have severe injuries (after a serious accident or assault)
  • They have signs of a stroke (face dropping on one side, cannot hold both arms up, difficulty speaking)
  • They have sudden rapid swelling of the lips, mouth, throat or tongue 
  • They have sudden confusion agitation, odd behaviour or non-stop crying 


For more information, please visit the NHS website.

Where should you go if you have an emergency that isn't life threatening?

You should go to an urgent treatment centre instead of A&E.

These centres can help with things like:

  • broken bones and sprains
  • injuries, cuts and bruises
  • wound dressing
  • stomach pain 
  • coughs, colds and breathing problems
  • vomiting and diarrhoea 
  • skin infections and rashes
  • high temperature in children and adults
  • mental health problems

Many minor injury units and walk-in centres can also help you with these things. If they cannot help you, they will tell you where to go to get help. 

You do not need an appointment to go to any of these centres, but sometimes you can call them in advance to let them know you are coming. 

What happens if I don't speak English?

If you need help in another language, including British Sign Language (BSL), you can ask for an interpreter. In most scenarios, you can bring someone with you to translate / interpret if you'd like.