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Do you really need A&E?

Do you really need A&E?

Keep A&E for those who really need it


The evidence suggests that up to one in five patients attending the A&E department could be seen by alternative NHS services such as GP, pharmacy and dentists.

Download the Do you really need A&E? leaflet

A&E departments assess and treat patients with serious injuries or illnesses.

Generally, you should only visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped 


If an ambulance is needed, call 999, the emergency phone number in the UK.

If you attend A&E and your condition is not serious, you may be re-directed to another NHS service if that is more suitable. 


If you are a parent and have a smartphone or tablet computer, you don’t even need to leave the house to get advice from healthcare professionals – the local NHS is offering a brand new free childhood illness app for both Android and Apple devices that guides you through looking after many common ailments for children at home, with advice on what to do if there are signs of a more serious condition.

You can find out more information about the app and download links at midessexccg.nhs.uk/livewell/startwell

And adults can access similar advice through the NHS website at www.nhs.net 



Remember - A&E is for serious and life-threatening emergencies only