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Emergency and urgent care

Access the right help quickly depending on your condition. Find out where to get treatment and what to do in an emergency.

If it’s not life threatening, please consider other options before dialling 999 or coming to Accident & Emergency. It means our emergency staff can concentrate on people whose lives are at serious risk and save you an unnecessarily long wait.

If someone’s seriously ill, injured or their life’s at risk  

Call 999 immediately – they’ll send an ambulance.

Serious illnesses, injuries and life threatening emergencies include: 

  • severe trauma including head injuries, road traffic accidents, stabbings or shootings 
  • severe bleeding that won’t stop 
  • severe chest pains 
  • breathing difficulties 
  • severe fractures 
  • loss of consciousness 
  • overdose/poisoning 
  • severe burns or scalds 
  • serious allergic reactions 
  • sudden confusion 
  • fits (seizures) that won’t stop 
  • child head injuries 
  • if you think someone’s having a stroke. 

Paramedics and the ambulance team will take the patient to our Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. 

If you have a minor injury or someone needs medical help that’s not serious or life threatening 

NHS 111 will direct you to the right care and can book you an appointment at A&E or urgent care if needed.

NHS 111 online can tell you:

  • where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
  • how to find general health information and advice
  • where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • how to get a repeat prescription

Or you can call 111 which is free of charge from mobile phones or landlines.

If you have an illness that won’t go away  

Call your GP who can assess you, prescribe treatment or refer you to a specialist. 

If you don’t have a GP, or you have recently moved to a new area and need a GP, find out how to register with a GP surgery 

If you have a short term, minor illness  

You won’t usually need to see a GP for short-term coughs, colds, headaches, sore throats, aches and pains and stomach upsets. They usually go away with rest and medicines that you can buy over the counter from your local pharmacy. 

Your pharmacy can also give you advice on non-serious complaints such; 

  • cystitis (bladder infection) 
  • conjunctivitis 
  • earache 
  • skin rashes 
  • teething. 

Find out more about how your pharmacy can help you. 

If you have an urgent problem with your teeth  

Call your dentist. If you need out of hours advice or treatment, your dental surgery will usually have an answering machine with instructions on what you need to do in an emergency. 

If you don’t have a dentist, please call 111. They’ll put you in touch with a local emergency dental service. 

Go to A&E only if your problem is serious, such as: 

  • severe pain 
  • heavy bleeding 
  • injuries to your face, mouth or teeth. 

 If someone is having a mental health crisis 

Call 999 if you or someone you know: 

  • is close to acting on suicidal thoughts 
  • is worried about your/their safety 
  • in a life threatening situation 
  • has seriously self harmed and needs urgent help. 

Call your GP for an emergency appointment if you: 

  • experience a mental health problem for the first time 
  • have an existing mental health condition that suddenly gets worse 
  • have self harmed but don’t have a life threatening injury 
  • know someone who shows signs of early onset dementia 
  • experience, or know someone who suffers from domestic violence or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. 

You can also call 111 out of GP surgery hours or Samaritans if you need confidential help immediately.