Out of Hours

If you need medical attention or advice outside these hours please ring 111.

In the event of a life threatening situation dial 999

General information on health services can also be obtained by accessing the NHS CHOICES website www.nhs.uk


111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Calls from mobiles and landlines are free and the service is intended to respond to people’s health and social care needs when:

  • it is not a life-threatening situation, and therefore is less urgent than a 999 call
  • the patient does not have a GP to call or a GP is not available
  • the caller feels they cannot wait and is simply unsure of which service they require
  • the caller requires health information or reassurance about what to do next.
How NHS 111 works

You answer questions about your symptoms on the website, or by speaking to a fully trained adviser on the phone.

You can ask for a translator if you need one.

Depending on the situation you’ll:

  • find out what local service can help you
  • be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  • get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  • be told how to get any medicine you need
  • get self-care advice

A&E or 999

Emergency services are very busy. They should only be used in very serious or life threatening situations.

See this page for more information on Local Emergency Departments.

When is it an emergency?

When it comes to your health or the health of someone in your family, it is often very obvious if the person is seriously ill and needs urgent care. You should seek medical attention by either taking the casualty to A&E or by phoning 999 for an emergency ambulance.

If the emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation like the following examples and in any of these instances, you should seek urgent medical attention by dialling 999:

  • Suspected heart attack
  • Chest pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Head injury
  • Stroke symptoms (slurring of speech, unstable on feet)

Remember to remain calm, do everything you can to help the person, but don't put yourself in danger and don't give the person anything to eat, drink or smoke.

People with signs of a heart attack, which might include crushing central chest pain often accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating and vomiting, need urgent medical help and an ambulance should be called immediately by dialling 999.

For conditions like heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, deep wounds such (as stab wounds) and foreign body in eyes or ears which are not life-threatening (and where the patient can travel), they should be taken to the nearest A & E Department.