Do you need emergency medical treatment?
We are busy
Our accident and emergency (A&E) departments are extremely busy, and you may have to wait up to 4 hours, or longer, to be seen. Patients who are critically ill or injured may be seen before you – even if they arrived after you. If your condition isn’t life-threatening, you may be able to get help faster elsewhere.
Please only attend A&E with a maximum of one other person supporting you (and only if absolutely necessary).
An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as:
- loss of consciousness
- acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
- chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
- severe allergic reactions
- severe burns or scalds
- major trauma and accidents such as a road traffic accident
Read NHS First Aid advice for emergency situations including CPR, stroke, choking, burns, heavy bleeding, fractures and more.
Get to your nearest A&E or call 999 for an ambulance if you need immediate help
What to expect at A&E
We try to see patients in time order, but patients who are more critically ill or injured may be seen before you. We are often very busy on evenings, weekends and during winter. During these times, if your condition is not life-threatening, it is common to wait a few hours for treatment.
It may not always look busy in the waiting area. A lot of the medical help we give happens away from where you are waiting. When we have patients who are seriously ill or injured, and who may have arrived by ambulance, you won’t be able to see that we are busy.
We know that waiting is horrible, especially if you are worried, in pain or unwell. We will give you pain relief as soon as possible and see you as soon as we can.
Refreshments are available from vending machines in our hospitals. However, you may want to bring a bottle of water, snack and warm clothing with you if you have time to do this.