Who do I contact in an emergency?

It is important to know who to contact if you need help in an emergency or outside normal hospital hours.

Your hospital team will tell you who to call if your symptoms get bad at night, or at the weekend.

If you are being cared for at home and need help, you will need to contact your GP or community nurse – this may be the district or palliative care nurse. If you haven’t been given a number to use out of hours, ask your hospital team or GP about this. You may not get through to the right person straight away, but they should call you back.

If you are having chemotherapy, you should be given a 24-hour emergency phone number. Call this if you are unwell or need information about side effects. If your haven’t been given an emergency number, ask your nurse about this.

If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, you can call the NHS on 111 for advice out of hours. In Northern Ireland, there are local out of hours phone numbers for each region, which you can find on the NI Direct website. Your GP answer phone message will also have an out of hours number for you to call. If it is an emergency, you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance, or go to A&E.

“It’s really important to have easy access to out of hours contact numbers. Keep them on the fridge or somewhere handy.”

Updated October 2021

Review date October 2023