Advice from London Ambulance Service

23 December 2014 in Community safety and Health
The London Ambulance Service has been receiving very high numbers of calls in recent weeks and is expecting to be under further pressure over Christmas and New Year.
The LAS is asking people 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:


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

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 available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.


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.


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.

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 appointment.

A&E or 999

If it is an emergency and you need to call 999, tell the operator that you want to speak to the ambulance service. 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, a specially-trained clinical advisor may give you medical advice over the phone. You should only call 999 in an emergency.