Know Who To Turn To

999 / Accident and emergency (A&E)Back

When an illness or injury is serious or life-threatening, turn to 999 or your nearest A&E.

What is A&E?

A&E is a hospital department staffed by doctors and nurses specially trained to assess and treat serious illness and injury.

Most A&E departments are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, although not all hospitals have an A&E department.

When to turn to 999 or A&E

You should only turn to 999 or A&E for a serious illness or injury, such as:
  • suspected heart attack or stroke
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding
If your illness or injury is not serious:

How will the ambulance service help?

When you phone 999, the Scottish Ambulance Service will respond with the most appropriate help for your situation.

If you condition is serious, you will be taken to A&E to be assessed and treated.

How will A&E staff help?

When you attend A&E, you will be assessed (triaged) to determine how serious your condition is. Priority is usually given to those with the most serious illness or injury.

A&E staff have access to a wide range of resources to ensure you are assessed and treated appropriately for your condition.

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Still unsure?

If you are still unsure who to turn to, phone NHS 24 on 111.

They can help direct you to the most appropriate service for your needs.