In a life-threatening emergency

Always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. Examples of medical emergencies include (but are not limited to):

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe loss of blood
  • Severe burns or scalds
  • Choking 
  • Fitting or concussion
  • Drowning
  • Severe allergic reactions.

It's imperative that the most serious, life threatening calls made to the ambulance service are dealt with first.

Because of this, we prioritise each call into nationally-agreed categories.

Click here for more information about the categories.

When it's not a life-threatening emergency

If it is not a life-threatening emergency and you, or the person you are with, do not need immediate medical attention, consider other options before you dial 999:

  • Look after yourself or the patient at home. If you cannot stay at home, see if family or friends are able to help.
  • Talk to your local pharmacist.
  • Visit or call your GP.
  • Call 111 .
  • Visit the NHS Choices website .
  • Make your own way to your local A&E department, walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre. (Arriving in an ambulance does not necessarily mean you will be treated more quickly.)

Not sure where your nearest health services are? Use NHS Choices website for services.

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Chest PainsThe North East Ambulance Service uses a system called NHS Pathways to determine the most appropriate care for our patients. That may mean that we send you an ambulance, but it may also mean that we refer you to another pathway of care such a Walk-in Centre or your local GP.

To find out more about NHS Pathways and how our staff are trained and what they think of the system you click on the FAQs and Case Studies below.


Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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