We are asking Londoners to use their ambulance
service wisely and only call 999 in a real emergency. If you become
ill or injured and need medical help or advice, choose well by
using the right NHS service for your needs.
Choosing well ensures you receive the right care at the
right time and that emergency medical care is available to those
people who need it the most.
How can I choose well?
Take some time to find out more about the variety of healthcare
services that are available to you and what they can offer:
A lot of illnesses can be treated in your home by using over the
counter medicine and getting plenty of rest.
This is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and
injuries and will ensure that you receive the rest and recovery you
need to get well.
NHS 111 is a new service that is being
introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare
services. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s
not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a quick and easy way to get the
right help, whatever the time. Calls are free from landlines and
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week and 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile
Call 111 if:
- you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
- you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent
- you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
- you need health information or reassurance about what to do
For less urgent health needs, contact your GP
or local pharmacist in the usual way.
If a health professional has given you a
specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your
condition, continue to use that number.
Pharmacies can be found in local areas across London. Your local
pharmacist can give you advice on illnesses and the medicines you
need to treat them.
Visit a pharmacist when you are suffering from a common health
problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor.
GP surgeries can be found across London. You can make an
appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and
prescriptions. In an emergency, a GP can also visit your home
outside of opening hours – if you need this service, telephone your
local surgery and follow the recorded instructions.
Make an appointment with your local GP when you have an illness
or injury that will not go away.
NHS walk-in centre, urgent care centre, or
minor injuries unit
Walk-in centres, urgent care centres and minor injuries units
give healthcare and advice. Most are open from early in the morning
until late at night. You do not need an appointment, and you will
be seen by an experienced nurse or GP.
Visit one of these centres if you need medical treatment or
advice which does not need a visit to A&E or a medical
A&E or 999
Accident and emergency departments are found at most hospitals.
They help people who show signs of being very ill or are badly
If it is an
emergency and you need to call 999, tell the operator that
you want to speak to the ambulance service. You will be
transferred to one of our call takers who will ask questions so
that we can decide what help to send you.
In an emergency, ambulance staff will be sent to help you. If
you have a more minor problem and you do not need immediate help,
one of our specially-trained clinical advisors may give you medical
advice over the phone. Alternatively, we may pass your details on
to NHS 111, so that one of their advisors can ring you back with
You should only call 999 in an emergency. If it is not a
life-threatening situation, consider the other options available to