Accident and Emergency (A&E)
A&E departments provide immediate care for people with genuine 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
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
A&E departments are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and they are very busy.
In 2015/16 alone 22.9 million people accessed A&E departments – that’s over twice size of population of London! People who make unnecessary visits to A&E slow down a service that, for some, can make the difference between life and death.
Only use A&E for life-threatening situations.
Help our emergency services be there for the people who really need them. If your injury or illness is not life-threatening, please use a more appropriate healthcare service, such as a minor injury unit for injuries or a walk-in centre for minor illnesses or injuries.
A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP practice is closed, call NHS 111 for information and advice on what to do next.
If it is a genuine emergency, where someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, call 999 and don’t panic.
You can contact emergency services via SMS if you are deaf, hearing impaired or have a speech impediment. Visit the emergencySMS website for more information or to register your phone.
For more information on what to do in an emergency, visit the NHS website.