Dealing With An Emergency

Call 999 in an emergency. 

A medical emergency is a situation in which the health of a person is at high risk of deteriorating rapidly without immediate medical attention.

For example, chest pains, increasing difficulty in breathing, impaired consciousness and any of the signs of a stroke (facial weakness, inability to lift a limb or slurred speech) constitute an emergency.

In a medical emergency you can access urgent paramedical help by calling 999 (or 911)

Which service do I need?


In a less urgent situation, call 111

If there is a pressing but less urgent situation then you can call the 111 service (see below) to discuss how to arrange an urgent GP consultation or home visit.

If you telephone the surgery outside of normal opening hours you will be redirected to the 111 telephone service

NHS 111 is a telephone service introduced in October 2012 to make it easier for you to access local health services when you have an urgent need.

You can ring the free NHS 111 number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

You should call NHS 111 if;

  • You need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency.
  • You do not know who to call for medical help.
  • You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service; or
  • You require health information or reassurance about what to do next.

NHS 111 will provide a clinical assessment at the first point of contact, direct you to the right service and will be able to transfer clinical data to other providers & book appointments where appropriate.

NHS 111 can help take the pressure off the 999 service and A&E departments, so that they can focus on emergency cases.


Out of Hours GP service

You can always have access to advice from a GP out of GP surgery opening hours in Oxford by calling the 111 service. If appropriate an appointment will be made for you are the GP out of hours clinic in East Oxford. Alternatively a GP home visit may be arranged if considered necessary.


Accident and Emergency

You can access urgent medical care at the nearest emergency department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington, Oxford. This is a walk-in, no appointment, service.

Alternatively injuries such as bumps to the head, sprains, broken bones, minor burns, cuts, bites and stings can all be dealt with at the Minor Injury Unit at Abingdon Hospital, Marcham Road, Abingdon (10:00 - 22:30 daily).

If you do choose to go directly to the A&E department or to the Minor Injury Service you may need to prepare for a long wait as there is no appointment system. In most cases a call to the practice in working hours, or to 111 out of working hours will enable you to be redirected to a more appropriate service away from the hospital.

If you have any doubt about your need for urgent care and its not a medical emergency, first call 111.


Emergency Contraception

If you have had unprotected sex (sex without contraception or where you think your contraception may have failed), options for emergency contraception include emergency contraception pills and the emergency intrauterine device (“copper coil”).:

You can get emergency contraception free from these places:

GP we can prescribe emergency contraception pills and refer you for an emergency coil insertion at the local contraception and sexual health clinic.

Contraception and sexual health clinics (C&SH)– Sexual Health Oxfordshire (01865 231231) for details. See: SEXUAL HEALTH OXFORDSHIRE

You can also get the emergency pills free from some Oxford pharmacies if you are aged under 18 years old (see: http://www.yoursexualhealthoxon.nhs.uk/ for list of participating pharmacies) but can buy them over the counter, provided you are over 16, from most pharmacies.

Emergency contraception can be taken for up to 120 hours or 5 days (and sometimes even longer with the emergency coil) after the unprotected intercourse, but the sooner it is taken the more effective at preventing pregnancy it will be. So speak with a health professional as soon as you can. We will always see you for a same day appointment if you require emergency contraception.

We can also help you to decide what contraception you need for the future (emergency contraception does not provide on-going protection against pregnancy) and to access sexually transmitted infection screening.

Please see Family Planning Association website for further details:

Emergency contraception FPA website


Missed pills

The advice regarding missed contraceptive pills has been changed recently. If you are unsure, please discuss with a doctor or nurse.

Combined oral contraceptive pill

Progesterone only pills – a missed pill is more than 3 hours late (or 12 hours if using Cerazette/Cerelle/Desogestrel )

If you have missed a pill, take it as soon as you remember.

If you have missed more than one, only take one.

Take your next pill at the usual time – this may mean taking two pills in one day.

You are not protected against pregnancy, take your pills as usual but use an additional method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next 2 days.

If you have missed one or more pills and have had unprotected sex before you have taken the next 2 tablets correctly you will need emergency contraception. Discuss with a health professional.