When to Call 999, 111, GP or go to the Pharmacist.

At some point, most people will either witness or be involved in an accident or experience a medical emergency. Knowing what to do next and who to call can potentially save lives.

When to call 999?

This can be a difficult question to answer. You will need to assess the casualty on the following areas:

  1. Are they responsive? If no, call 999.
  2. If they are responding, are they having breathing difficulties?
    • If they suffer from Asthma, let them use their inhaler.
    • If they are choking,  follow our guidance on how to deal with a choking casualty.
    • If their medication, or the procedure above does not have an immediate impact, call 999.
  3. If they are responsive, and their breathing is normal, but they are having a intense chest pains (potential Heart Attack), their face has dropped, they have lost arm strength of their speech is slurred. , call 999 immediately.
  4. If the casualty is fitting, and has no history of seizures, call 999.
  5. Severe bleeding that can not be stopped. Call 999.
  6. Severe burns, such as an acid attack, or that causes issues to breathing or sight. Call 999.

This list is not exhaustive. More information can be found on the NHS website.

When to Call 111?

111 is a great system for worried parents, or first aiders. If we do not feel the persons illness or injury has an immediate risk to life, as shown above, but they do need medical advice, 111 is a good option.

  1. The casualty has broken a bone, can walk, and feels fine, but is in pain. Call 111. They may recommend going to a minor injuries ward, over Accident and Emergency, and book you in to be seen by a doctor.
  2. The casualty is suffering from stomach pains, that could be down to food poisoning and all nearby pharmacies are closed. Call 111.
  3. It is the middle of the night, you are on your own, you feel very unwell, but do not feel like your life is in immediate danger, as listed above. Call 111.
  4. You are unhappy with guidance from your GP, and want a second opinion about your own symptoms or a friends. Call 111.

Minor Injuries units are for the walking wounded. Going to Accident and Emergency could result in a long wait if your illness or injury is not life threatening, so you could be seen quicker by a medical professional at a local Minor Injuries unit. This could be advised by a 111 call, and an appointment booked in.

Please be advised the above list is not exhaustive. Please see further advice from the NHS website

When to go to your GP?

We want to ensure your Accident and Emergency wards are free for those who have a conditions that pose an immediate danger to life.

If you have an ongoing issue, such as;

  1. persistent muscular, joint  pain, or physical pain.
  2. a rash you are concerned by.
  3. persistent conditions that make you feel light headed, or unwell, that pass.
  4. an unexplained lump or growth you have discovered.
  5. Concerns about your mental health.
  6. Advice linked to family medical history.

When to go to your pharmacist?

We all know that pharmacists dispense medicines. But they do a lot more than that.

Did you know, for example, that pharmacies can help with stopping smokingcutting down on alcoholadvice on safe sex and emergency contraception?

Lots of pharmacies are open until late and at weekendsYou don’t need an appointment – you can just walk in.

Your pharmacist can also talk to you confidentially without anything being noted in your medical records, which some people may prefer.

Help with your medicines

Help with minor ailments

Help with healthier living

More advice can be found on the NHS website.

The above advice is a basic guide to when to call 999, 111, your GP or head to the pharmacist. It should not be considered as an exhaustive list, and if you are concerned about your, or a friends condition, seeking medical advice is always advised.