Sometimes there is little choice but to go into hospital in order to receive the medical treatment you need, particularly in an emergency. But remember that going into hospital can bring its own problems, putting you at risk of developing infections and other illnesses, or of losing some of the independence which you have been used to because you have to spend so much time in bed and doing nothing. Hospital staff will always do their best to ensure your well-being whilst you are there but it is worth thinking about ways in which you can plan ahead and try to avoid a spell in hospital.
In addition remember that winter is an especially busy period for the NHS, as many services come under increasing pressure while supporting those with health issues that become worse during the colder conditions.
In a medical emergency always call 999 and get the help you need. But if your situation is not urgent then consider some of the other options on this page first.
And remember that calling 999 and going in an ambulance to hospital does not necessarily mean that you will be seen any quicker. If it's possible then consider making your own way to your local Accident and Emergency department. The NHS website allows you to find your nearest A&E department.
When you should definitely call 999
The NHS recommends that you should always call 999 in emergency situations such as the following:-
- lost consciousness
- fits that are not stopping
- when someone is in an acute confused state
- persistent, severe chest pain
- breathing difficulties
- severe bleeding that can't be stopped
And if you or someone is having a heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately. Every second counts with these conditions.