When to go to 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 are injured or seriously ill, you should go, or be taken, to A&E. If an ambulance is needed you can call 999. A 999 call should only be made in a genuine emergency.

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. Our nearest A&E departments are at St Thomas' Hospital and Kings College Hospital.

In addition to major A&E departments there are a range of other services available such as walk-in centres and minor injury units. They can provide timely care for patients without an appointment. They deal with a range of minor injuries and illnesses.

Minor Injury Units are often nurse or doctor-led services offering assessment and treatment for minor injuries such as sprains and strains.

At NHS Walk-in Centres you can see an experienced nurse or doctor (although not all centres have a doctor) for advice, assessment and treatment for minor ailments and injuries such as cuts, bruises, minor infections, strains and skin complaints.

Follow the link for some useful tips on how you can avoid going to A&E or about other NHS services where you can get treated.