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Urgent and emergency care
There are two services who deal with urgent and emergency care - NHS 111 (urgent care) and A&E / 999 (emergency care). Find out which one to use and when.
NHS 111 is the number to call when you have an urgent health need. The 111 number is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is free to call from a landline and mobile phone.
When you call 111, you will speak to highly trained advisors who are supported by health and care professionals. They will ask you a number of questions to assess your need so that they can either give you advice or direct you to the local service that can help you best. This could be an out-of-hours doctor, urgent care centre or late opening pharmacy. The team at NHS 111 will, where possible, book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to. If they think you need an ambulance, one will be sent just as quickly as if you had dialled 999.
When to call 111
You should call NHS 111 if you:
- urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a 999 emergency.
- are not sure if you need to go to A&E, let 111 help you decide
- don’t know who to call or you do not have a GP to call
- need health information or reassurance about what to do next.
When not to call 111
NHS 111 is not the right number to call if:
- it is an immediate, life threatening emergency. You should call 999.
- you have a less urgent health need. You will need to contact your GP or local pharmacist.
- a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition. You should continue to use this phone number.
For further information about NHS 111, click here.
NHS 111 BSL service
NHS 111 also provide a BSL service which is available from 8am to midnight every day. Using your computer and a webcam, you can make a call to a BSL interpreter. The interpreter telephones an NHS 111 adviser and relays your conversation with them.
Emergency care - A&E / 999
There are a number of hospitals in the West Yorkshire area that provide emergency services, the main ones in our area are Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital which both have A&E departments. The hospitals in West Yorkshire that have emergency services can be found below.
When to use A&E
An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with urgent and life-threatening emergencies, including:
- 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
- injury as result of an accident
Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units (MIUs), more information about what treatment MIUs can provide can be found here. A list of MIUs in the Bradford area can be found on the NHS Choices services finder.
If you are unsure of where to go for less severe injuries you can call NHS 111.
Or watch Dee's A&E fail tale on when to use A&E...
More information about using emergency services can be found on the NHS Choices website.
You should call 999 when someone is seriously ill or injured and you believe that their life is at risk. If the situation is not life threatening but you do need help fast, please call NHS 111.
Ambulance crews are highly trained in all aspects of emergency care, from trauma to cardiac arrests. More information about calling 999 and ambulance services can be found on the NHS Choices website.