Accident & emergency (A&E)

Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:

  •     loss of consciousness,
  •     pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia,
  •     acute confused state,
  •     persistent, severe chest pain, or
  •     breathing difficulties.


If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.

Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.