An emergency is a situation where a patient's life is at risk - if this is the case call 999.

Staff in the Emergency Department assess and treat people with serious injuries and those in need of emergency treatment (blue light emergencies). The department is sometimes referred to as ‘casualty’ or A&E.

All serious cases that require an emergency ambulance with a ‘blue light’ in the East Lancashire area are  brought to the Emergency Department at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital (emergency cases involving severe injury/illness).

The North West Air Ambulance can land on a purpose built helipad outside the Emergency Department at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital. Air ambulance crews can treat seriously ill patients at the scene of accidents and fly them to the hospital’s dedicated emergency department in just minutes.

The Emergency Department and the 999 ambulance service should only be used in a life-threatening or critical situations. You should only call 999 for an ambulance in a real emergency. The Emergency Department can get very busy and you may have to wait a long time to be seen if you are not in immediate danger.

The Department of Emergency Medicine is made up of 5 separate dedicated facilities as following:

Emergency Department (Royal Blackburn Hospital)

Urgent Treatment Centre (Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital)

Urgent Treatment Centre (Burnley General Teaching Hospital)

Minor Injuries Unit (Accrington Victoria Hospital)

Minor Injuries Unit (Rossendale Health Centre)

In some circumstances, Accident and Emergency (A&E) may not be the most appropriate place to receive treatment. If you become unwell make sure you choose the right healthcare service to receive treatment.

Life-threatening emergencies

If someone is injured, or seriously ill and their life is at risk - Call 999.

Medical emergencies can include:

  • loss of consciousness
  • an acute confused state
  • fits that are not stopping
  • persistent, severe chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds

Call 999 immediately if you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke. Every second counts with these conditions. Also call 999 if you think someone has had a major trauma. Major trauma is often the result of a serious road traffic accident, a stabbing, a shooting, a fall from height, or a serious head injury.

The ambulance will take you to the most appropriate hospital for your condition. This could be the Emergency Department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. 

Alternatives to Accident and Emergency Services (A&E)

In some circumstances, Accident and Emergency (A&E) may not be the most appropriate place to receive treatment. If you become unwell make sure you choose the right healthcare service to receive treatment. 

Alternative services that the Trust offer are: 

Urgent Treatment Centres

Urgent Treatment Centres can treat:

  • minor head injuries
  • suspected broken bones and fractures
  • sprains
  • cuts and scrapes
  • bites
  • eye problems
  • rising temperatures

We have two of these, one in Blackburn and one in Burnley.

Minor Injuries Units

Minor Injuries Units can treat:

  • sprains and strains

  • broken bones

  • wound infections

  • minor burns and scalds

  • minor head injuries

  • insect and animal bites

  • minor eye injuries

  • injuries to the back, shoulder and chest

Your nearest one is at Accrington Victoria Community Hospital and there is also one in Rossendale.

GP Services

Your family doctor provides general medical care, prescriptions and referral to a specialist or hospital clinic. A list of GPs can be found at NHS Choices. To access the GP Out of Hours Service contact your local GP and listen to their answerphone message which will give instructions how to access this service.


Your local Pharmacist is trained to offer advice about how to treat everyday medical problems and will advise if your symptoms mean that you should seek further medical help. Your can find a local pharmacist and other healthcare providers at NHS Choices.

NHS 111 - for non-emergencies 

You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. Find out more on their website or within their leaflet

Self Care

With the right advice and information plus a well stocked medicine cabinet lots of minor ailments can be treated or prevented effectively.

To find out the current average waiting times at the urgent or emergency services listed above, please select the link below: