When the surgery is closed and you require urgent treatment that cannot wait until the next working day,
you can access the out of hours service by telephoning:111 (free from any telephone)
If your problem is life-threatening you should call 999
What is an emergency?
When it comes to your health or the health of someone in your family, it is often very obvious if the person is seriously ill and needs immediate emergency care. An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation.
To help you decide what a critical situation is, here are some examples:
Heavy blood loss
Suspected broken bones
Deep wound such as a stab wound
Suspected heart attack
Difficulty in breathing
Severe allergic reaction
What to do in an emergency?
Stay calm, shout for help. You may need to instruct someone to telephone 999. Make sure they know where the ambulance has to come to and they have some details about the person who is injured or ill.
Do not put yourself in danger. For example, if someone has been electrocuted, make sure you switch off the power supply before touching them. Do everything you can to help the person.
Do not give the person anything to eat, drink or smoke. Do not stick anything in their mouth.
Follow the instructions the ambulance service call handler may give you.
The way to help a person very often depends on what is wrong with them. Sometimes, the quickest way to help is to take the person to the nearest accident and emergency department. This will vary from area to area as it does depend on how close your local hospital is. However, even in an area where your hospital is fairly close, you should call an ambulance and not move the patient if you think they may:
* have hurt their back or neck;
* have any other injury that may be made worse by moving them;
* be in shock and needs your constant attention;
* have severe chest pain or difficulty breathing.
If the patient is unconscious - the recovery position
If the patient is unconscious, there is a safe position to put them in, which allows them to breathe easily and stops them choking on any vomit. However, you must first carefully consider whether there is any chance that the casualty has hurt their back or neck, or has an injury, which would be made worse by moving them. Putting them in the recovery position in this case could have serious consequences.
If you are in any doubt, and the casualty is in no further danger by being left in their original position, do not move them. Wait for the paramedics to arrive.
How to put someone in the recovery position
Once you have checked that they are breathing normally, lie them on one side, with a cushion at their back, bring their knee forward and point their head downward to allow any vomit to escape without them swallowing it or breathing it in. Remember, when you are moving the patient onto their side, make sure their neck and back are well supported.
Heart attack signs - dial 999
There are times when recognising the symptoms of a serious emergency can save a life.
Your prompt action could make all the difference, not just in terms of alerting the emergency services but in taking appropriate action until a health professional arrives. CLICK HERE to learn more about heart attack signs.
Signs of a stroke - dial 999
Has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile? Can they raise both arms & keep them there? Is their speech slurred?
Time to call 999 if you see any single one of the above signs. CLICK HERE for more information.
Mental illness emergencies
If a person's mental or emotional state quickly worsens, this can be treated as a mental health emergency or mental health crisis. In this situation, it's important to get help as soon as possible. Dial 111 to find out where help is available. If you feel the person is in immediate danger, call 999.
REMEMBER - if it is not a 999 life-threatening situation then use the NHS 111 telephone service to get medical help fast but are not in a life-threatening situation.
The easy-to-remember, free-to-call number is used to help reduce the pressure on A & E departments
and the 999 service. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week, the service is for people who aren't sure
if they need to go to A & E, don't have a GP to call or generally need reassurance and advice.
On dialling 111, a team of fully-trained advisers and experienced nurses will assess your symptoms
and direct you to the best medical care for you. This could be an out-of-hours doctor, walk-in centre or
urgent care centre, community nurse, emergency dentist or late opening chemist.