Is it Better to Call 999 or 111? Emergency Numbers Guide

Is it better to call 999 or 111 in an emergency? What about if there isn’t an emergency? What is the ambulance number? All these questions and more are answered in this helpful guide.

In the UK, there are two phone numbers you can call for medical care. The number to call in emergencies is 999 and 111is the number for non-emergencies. number.

When to call 111 or 999?

There are key differences to help you decide whether to call 111 and 999.

When to call 999

This is the number for the emergency services which in the UK constitutes the ambulance, police and fire services.

You should only call the 999-emergency number if there’s a medical emergency which includes:

  • – someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk
  • – there’s a fire
  • – a crime is taking place, for example an assault or burglary.

In London, where The Stay Club student accommodation is based, you can also call 112 in an emergency.

When to call 111

You should call 111 when you need medical advice or treatment, but it is not an emergency.

On this number you will get to speak to trained advisers who are supported by nurses and paramedics. They will ask your symptoms and offer their help.

You should call the 111 non-emergency medical care number if:

  • – you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency
  • – you think you might need hospital treatment
  • – you don’t have a doctor or it’s out of surgery hours
  • – you need health advice and are not sure what to do next
  • – Interpreters are available on this service. They can translate if you have difficulty speaking English or you can ask to use the service in a different language.

There is also a 111 online help website here:

The site walks you through getting medical help and can give you information on:

  • – where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
  • – how to find general health information and advice
  • – where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • – how to get a repeat prescription.

When to call 101

This is the UK’s non-emergency police number and is the number to call to report a crime or incident if you don’t need the police to arrive immediately. Calls to 101 cost 15p per call, however long you’re on the phone.

You can find our more helpful advice on the 101 number and when to call it here:

The site will ask you whether it’s an emergency and if so to call 99 straightaway. But you can also use it to report a crime, a breach of coronavirus measures, to tell an operative about something you have seen or heard, what and how to report something, give feedback to a force and to let the police know about possible terrorist activity.

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