A&E or 999

An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals 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

Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units (MIUs). An A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP practice is closed you can call NHS 111, which will direct you to the best local service to treat your injury.

How to find your nearest A&E?

Not all hospitals have an A&E department. You can use the find services search on the NHS Choices website to see if there is one near you. Alternatively, many hospitals have their own website and generally describe the urgent and emergency care services they offer.

If you dialled 999 for an ambulance and you have to be taken to hospital, then the ambulance team will take you to the most appropriate A&E – this may not be the closest. Find out more about making 999 emergency calls on the NHS Choices website >>