When to seek emergency care

Getting help quickly is crucial if you or your loved ones become unwell. Learn more about when to call for emergency care.

If you have coronavirus or symptoms of this, please tell the 999 call taker and mention this to paramedics on arrival. For further information on coronavirus, visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Chest pain

Call 999 if you have sudden chest pain

You must call 999 if you have chest pain that:

  • spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw
  • makes your chest feel tight or heavy
  • also started with shortness of breath, sweating and feeling or
    being sick
  • lasts more than 15 minutes

Stroke

Call 999 if you think you’re having a stroke

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST – you must call 999 if you have the following:

  • Face – face is drooping / fallen on one side, unable to smile, or
    the mouth or eye have dropped
  • Arms – unable to raise both arms and keep them there
  • Speech – speech is slurred or garbled
  • Time – dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or
    symptoms

Choking

Call 999 if someone is chocking

The following should only be done if you’ve been trained in first aid; if the person’s airway is still blocked after trying back blows and abdominal thrusts, get help immediately, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Tell the 999 operator the person is choking. If you’ve not been trained in first aid call 999 and listen to the call takers instructions.

People that have been first aid trained should continue with the cycles of 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrusts until help arrives. People that have been first aid trained should continue with the cycles of 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrusts until help arrives.

Severe bleeding

Call 999 if someone is bleeding heavily that can’t be stopped

If someone is bleeding heavily, the main aim is to prevent further blood loss and minimise the effects of shock. Call 999, answer the questions and listen to further instructions from the 999 call taker.

Severe burns or scalds

It’s important to get professional medical attention for serious burns.

Attend A&E or call 999:

  • all chemical and electrical burns
  • large or deep burns – any burn bigger than the injured
    person’s hand
  • burns that cause white or charred skin – any size
  • burns on the face, hands, arms, feel, legs or genitals that cause
    blisters

If you’ve breathed in smoke or fumes, you should also seek medical attention.

Some symptoms may be delayed and can include:

  • coughing
  • a sore throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • facial burns

People at greater risk from the effects of burns, such as children under 5 years old and pregnant women, should also get medical attention after minor burns or scalds.

Video – When to call 999 (includes BSL version)

Watch the video below as Dr Bryan Gill, Chief Medical Officer at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and co-chair of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Clinical Forum, talks on the importance of calling 999 when in need of emergency medical care.

BSL version

Video – Attending the Emergency Department during COVID-19

We understand that you might not want to contribute to the current pressures on the NHS in Leeds and its Emergency departments at in the city, however, we want to remind people that both departments are still open. Watch the video below to learn more.

Further resources

Your NHS is still here for you information leaflet

This information leaflet provides easy read details on what to do and when to call 999 if you are poorly or worried.

Your NHS is still here for you

Your NHS is still here for you - easy read

VIDEO: Your NHS is still here for you - easy read animation

Patient information videos

Real life videos featuring patient and healthcare professionals explaining how your NHS is still here for you

Patient information videos

Information leaflet from your local NHS

Information leaflet from your local NHS providing coronavirus guidance for the public available in 12 languages

Information from your local NHS