Choose Well

We are asking people in the East of England 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:

  • Self care
  • NHS Direct
  • Pharmacist
  • GP
  • NHS Walk-in centre, urgent care centre or minor injuries unit
  • Hospital A&E or 999.
Choose Well

Self care

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 Direct

NHS Direct offers confidential health advice and information by telephone, on the internet and through digital TV, 24-hours a day
Phone: 0845 4647
Freeview: channel 100

NHS Direct is able to offer you advice if you are ill and answer any health-related questions you may have. The service can also help you to find health services in your area.

It is a good way for you to ensure that you get expert advice in the shortest possible time.


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.


You can make an appointment with a doctor for medical advice, examinations and prescriptions at your local surgery. 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 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 appointment.

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 injured.

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 Direct, so that one of their advisors can ring you back with advice.

You should only call 999 in an emergency. If it is not a life-threatening situation, consider the other options available to you.

East of England Ambulance Headquarters
Whiting Way
Sat Nav postcode SG8 6NA