Always call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk

What is an Emergency?
What Happens When you Phone 999
What information will I need?
What can I do before help arrives?

Clinical / Medical Emergencies include (but are not limited to):

  • Difficulty in breathingambulancerapidresponse
  • Chest pains
  • Heart problems
  • Unconsciousness
  • Fitting or choking
  • Severe loss of blood
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Abdominal pains
  • Overdose/poisoning
  • Traumatic falls

If it is not a life-threatening emergency and you, or the person you are with, need medical advice or treatment, there a number of options you can consider before dialling 999. These include;

  • Talk to your local pharmacist
  • Visit or call your GP
  • Make your own way to a hospital Accident & Emergency – if you do not have a car consider using public transport or call your local taxi firm. Going by ambulance will not reduce your waiting time.

REMEMBER: If you call 999 for an incident that is not an emergency, you could delay someone in real need from talking to an ambulance operator, preventing them from getting an emergency medical response.

What Happens When you Phone 999

When you call 999, a BT operator will ask you which emergency service you need eg Ambulance, Fire, Police

In a medical emergency, asked for the ambulance service and you will be put through to our Control Centre

What information will I need?

You will need to have the following information available when you call:

  • The address where you are, including the postcode.
  • The telephone phone number you are calling from.
  • What the problem is and exactly 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.
    The questions should be answered clearly and quickly and are asked to enable us make sure the most appropriate help is sent to you – 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.In these types of emergencies, the Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) will relay specific clinical instructions for you to follow until help arrives. These situations include:

    • Airway management for the unconscious patient;
    • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) eg chest compressions, mouth to mouth;
    • Clearing a fully obstructed airway on a choking patient;
    • Assisting with childbirth.In these situations or where the patient appears unstable, the EMD will stay on the line with you until help arrives providing you with constant assistance and reassurance.

What can I do before help arrives?

Before help arrives, 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. You could also place the medication in a bag to go with the patient
  • Tell us if the patient has any allergies.
  • Stay calm-our staff are there to help. Violence towards them will not be tolerated and may delay treatment.