Accident and Emergency (A&E)
Major A&E departments assess and treat patients who have serious injuries or illnesses. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for emergencies, such as:
- loss of consciousness,
- pain that is not relieved by simple analgesia,
- acute confused state,
- persistent, severe chest pain, or
- breathing difficulties.
If you're injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999, the emergency phone number in England. You can also dial 112, which is the equivalent for the European Union.
Major A&E departments offer access 365 days a year and usually open 24 hours a day. Be aware that not all hospitals have an A&E department.
Once you're at an A&E department, a doctor or nurse will assess your condition and decide on further action. You may have to wait a short while before you are seen. There is an operational standard in place for A&E services, where 98% of people attending A&E should be seen, diagnosed and treated within four hours of arrival, to help ensure that the care is timely.