Female member of Emergency Operations Centre in green uniform sat at computer with headset on

Emergency 999 service

East Midlands Ambulance Service provides the 999 emergency response for the region.

999 is the telephone number you should call when you need emergency medical assistance following a serious accident, illness or injury. For example, in the event of traumatic blood loss, chest pain or loss of consciousness.

When a 999 call is received in our Emergency Operations Centre, our call handlers will take details and make an assessment as to the type of response needed.  

You should not call 999 if the situation is not an emergency. For general health enquiries you should always contact your local GP practice, out-of-hours service, walk-in centre or pharmacist in the first instance. Alternatively you can contact NHS 111 at any time by calling the free telephone number 111.

What happens when you call 999?

 1. Your call: When you call 999 and ask for an ambulance, you will be immediately connected to our highly trained ambulance control centre team. They will ask you for details of the main problem, and then your location. Telephone numbers generally populate automatically on our system and so we do not routinely ask for telephone numbers.

2. Arranging help: While you are talking to our control team, appropriate help has already started to be arranged by our team.

3. Patient condition: Our team may need to ask some additional questions about the patient such as:

  • The patient’s age and gender
  • Whether the patient is breathing, conscious, and what the problem is
  • The type of injury and how it was sustained.

Asking these questions will not delay our response but does help us to offer advice if needed and also to ensure that we provide the most appropriate service.

4. Life-threatening situations: If the patient’s condition is life-threatening, our technology means that we can instantly pass the information to the nearest available ambulance vehicle so that they can get to the patient as quickly as possible.

5. Our response: Where appropriate an ambulance will be dispatched. In some cases we will send a fast response car or a community first responder, who can get to the scene more quickly than a conventional ambulance and start to provide care immediately. All staff and volunteers wear uniform, and an identification badge to confirm who they are and what their role is at EMAS.

6. Ongoing care: Our control team will offer you advice on how to help the patient; if the condition is life-threatening they will usually remain on the phone with you until the emergency vehicle arrives.

If the patient's condition is not immediately life-threatening,our Clinical Assessment Team, made up of nurses and paramedics and based in our 999 control room, may call you back to carry out further assessments and to offer additional medical advice.

7. Care on scene: When we arrive on scene, our crew member/s will assess the patient’s clinical condition and treatment will be given as needed at the scene.

8. Care at hospital: If necessary the patient will be quickly transported to a hospital Emergency Department or to a specialist treatment centre (such as for head injuries, heart attacks or stroke).

9. Care at home: In many cases patients do not need to be admitted to hospital and our crews can provide the treatment needed in the home or at the scene of the incident. 

10. Ready to help again: After attending to the patient, our staff will make sure that their equipment and vehicle is clean again, stocked and ready to respond to another 999 call.

Non life-threatening situations

In many cases, such as non-life threatening situations, a ‘blue light’ emergency response from an ambulance is not needed. However, our control team can arrange for a paramedic or nurse triage advisor to call you back. They will carry out a full assessment of the patient’s condition over the phone and then advise the best treatment, such as being cared for at home, being referred to a GP, pharmacy or community based care service.