It is usually obvious if a person is seriously ill and needs immediate emergency care from the ambulance service or the local accident and emergency department.
Medical experts would probably say that an emergency is 'a critical or life threatening situation'. Some examples would be a person who:
- has stopped breathing,
- has difficulty in breathing to the point that they cannot complete a sentence,
- is unconscious or fitting continuously,
- has chest pain,
- is bleeding heavily,
- has suspected multiple broken bones,
- has stab wounds,
- has a suspected stroke (usually affecting one side of the face, one arm and speech),
- has fallen from a height.
Local accident and emergency services
The Royal London Hospital accident and emergency service (A&E) runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and includes a dedicated children’s A&E department.
You can find them on the Ground floor, Alexandra Wing, The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London E1 1BB. See the online map.
Telephone: 020 7377 7781/7000 ext 2323 or 3595 or visit their website at www.bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk.
London Ambulance Service: call 999
The London Ambulance Service provides a 24-hour accident and emergency service. When you call 999 a telephone operator will ask you which emergency service you need:
In a medical emergency you should ask for an ambulance. You will be put through to an emergency medical dispatcher in the emergency operations centre. They will ask you:
- the exact location of the incident,
- whether the patient is conscious, breathing, has serious bleeding or chest pain, and
- the type of injury or illness.
Ambulance staff either provide care at the scene of an incident and/or transport the patient to the most suitable service.
If you have an urgent mental health problem a service is provided at the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel and can be contacted via the hospital switchboard. Telephone 020 7377 7000 and ask for the psychiatric liaison service.
NHS Direct is a 24-hour telephone service staffed by nurses and professional advisors. If you or a family member feels ill, or if you need advice on particular health conditions or local health services, call them on 0845 4647 or visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.