When you call 999, an operator will ask you which emergency service you need. In a medical emergency, ask for the ambulance service.
What information will I need when I call 999?
You will need to have the following information available when you call 999:
- The address where you are, including the postcode.
- The phone number you are calling from.
- What has happened.
As soon as we know where you are, we can send help to you. You will also be asked to give some extra information, including:
- The patient's age, sex and medical history;
- Whether the patient is conscious, breathing and if there is any bleeding or chest pain; and
- Details of the injury and how it happened.
Answering these questions will not delay us, but it will help us give you important first aid advice while our staff are on their way.
The extra information also helps us to make sure that we send the most appropriate help to you.
What can I do before help arrives?
Before we arrive, you can help us by doing the following:
- If you are in the street, stay with the patient until help arrives.
- Call us back if the patient's condition changes.
- Call us again if your location changes.
- If you are calling from home or work, ask someone to open the doors and signal where the ambulance staff are needed.
- Lock away any family pets.
- If you can, write down the patient's GP details and collect any medication that they are taking.
- Tell us if the patient has any allergies.
- Stay calm, our staff are there to help. Violence or threatening behaviour aimed at them will not be tolerated and could delay help getting to the patient.
How can I be prepared for an emergency?
There are things you can do today to help us in the future.
- Check that your house number can be seen from the road.
- If you live on an estate, check there is a clear sign to direct emergency services and that all lifts are working
You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.
You should call 111 if:
For less urgent health needs you should still contact your GP in the usual way.
Please note you may be charged by your service provider for calling 111.
For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.