Medical emergencies | University of Oxford
Medical emergencies
A view of Magdalen Tower from The Botanic Garden
Copyright © Greg Smolonski. This image comes from Oxford University Images. All rights reserved.

Medical emergencies

Emergency medical treatment can be obtained at the Emergency Department (A&E) of the John Radcliffe Hospital. Even if you are not registered with the NHS, you will always be seen in an emergency. If you are concerned about meningitis or other infectious diseases, see the Important vaccinations advice. If your illness or injury is non-urgent, please see Health Services for the range of support available to you. 

Life-threatening conditions

If you or someone else is experiencing the following symptoms, call 999 immediately.

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe loss of blood
  • Choking
  • Suspected stroke
  • Fitting or concussion
  • Drowning
  • Severe burns or scalds
  • Mental health crisis

NHS 111 urgent health advice service

If you are unsure whether you should visit the Emergency Department (A&E), or if you are experiencing an illness and injury in the evening or at the weekend, call NHS 111 for 24/7 urgent health advice.

GP Out-of-Hours Service

If it is not an emergency, but you need urgent medical advice (or think you need to see a doctor urgently) out of working hours, you should ring 111. You will be assessed over the telephone and following the assessment, a local GP will telephone you back, usually within an hour. If you need to be seen, you will be advised to attend the Out-of-Hours Centre at Manzil Way (off Cowley Road).

Minor Injuries Units

If you have a non-life threatening injury, Minor Injuries Units (MIU) can provide care for deep cuts, broken bones, severe sprains, minor head injuries, minor burns and scalds. You may get seen quicker at an MIU then A&E, where emergency cases will be prioritised over minor injuries. The nearest MIU is at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Advice and health information is also available at NHS Choices. The NHS has produced a useful guide “Choosing the right NHS service” to help you determine the best care for your needs.

Eye injuries

Emergencies affecting the eye are treated at the Oxford Eye Hospital in the West Wing of the John Radcliffe Hospital either within the Eye Emergency Department (08:00-18:00, Monday to Friday) or in the Eye Emergency room in A&E. 

Bites and scratches from animals

You should contact the Occupational Health Service first by telephoning 01865 282676 (09:00-17:00, Monday to Friday) to let them know of the problem before you arrive, unless:

  • it is a major bite with a lot of tissue damage, in which case go straight to A&E at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Inform the Medical Officer on duty at the Infectious Disease Unit, John Warin Ward, Churchill Hospital (Tel: 0300 304 7777);
  • it happens outside working hours: at night or weekends you should go to the A&E at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and as above, inform the Medical Officer on duty at the Infectious Disease Unit. 

Emergency contacts


Name & address


Opening hours

Eye emergenciesThe Oxford Eye Hospital, John Radcliffe Hospital01865 22480008:00-18:00, Monday to Friday
Injuries from animalsOccupational Health Service, 10 Parks Road01865 28267609:00-17:00, Monday to Friday
Major injuries from animalsJohn Radcliffe Hospital, Emergency Dept01865 22020824 hours
All other emergenciesJohn Radcliffe Hospital, Emergency Dept01865 22020824 hours
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