Should I ring 999 or 111?

In a life threatening emergency dial 999

It’s quite simple to remember, for life-threatening emergencies dial 999. 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.

When it’s not a life-threatening emergency…

NHS 111 is a free number from landlines and mobiles and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. When you call 111, you will be asked a series of questions from a trained health adviser or clinician and, following a short assessment, NHS 111 will direct you to the right service, at the right time and as close to your home as possible.

You should call NHS 111 if:

  • You need medical help fast but it’s not a life-threatening emergency
  • You don’t know who to call for medical help or you don’t have a GP to call
  • You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service but are not sure which one is most appropriate or closest
  • You require health advice or reassurance about what to do next
  • You have medication enquiries

For less urgent health needs, you should contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.