Always call 999 and ask to be put through to the ambulance service if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. For example when the person you are calling 999 on behalf of:
- has experienced a loss of consciousness
- is in an acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
- has persistent, severe chest pain
- has breathing difficulties
- has severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
Once you are connected to an ambulance 999 operator or call handler, they will ask you a series of questions to establish what is wrong. This will allow them to determine the most appropriate response as quickly as possible.
Emergency 999 calls to the ambulance service are prioritised into two categories to ensure life-threatening cases receive the quickest response:
- Immediately life threatening – An emergency response will reach 75% of these calls within eight minutes. Where onward transport is required, 95% of life-threatening calls will receive an ambulance vehicle capable of transporting the patient safely within 19 minutes of the request for transport being made.
- All other calls – For conditions that are not life threatening, response targets are set locally
A 999 call should only be made in a genuine emergency.