Physical health - urgent and emergency care

Choosing which service is right for you at a given time may not always be easy - often you have more than one option. Use the checklist below to guide you if you're not sure where to start.

Make an appointment with your GP if you are feeling unwell and it is not an emergency.

Ask your local pharmacist for advice for many common illnesses, such as diarrhoea, minor infections, headache, travel advice or sore throats.

Visit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (cuts, sprains or rashes) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open. CPFT runs three minor injuries units located at Wisbech, Doddington and Ely. For more information on the conditions they do and don't treat, as well opening times, please click here.

Call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice, but it's not a life-threatening situation. You can also call NHS 111 if you're not sure which NHS service you need. 

Call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

What to do in a mental health crisis

Click here for information on what to do in mental health crisis.

You might be in crisis if:

  • You are thinking of hurting yourself or suicide seems the only option
  • Someone you know has made threats to hurt you or someone else.
  • You are experiencing extreme distress that seems overwhelming.

If you believe you or a person you care for is in a mental health crisis and is in immediate need of help, there are several different avenues you can take. If you believe you or a person you care for is in a mental health crisis and is in immediate need of help, there are several different avenues you can take. Also, you may want to look at a leaflet on Coping with Panic or other mental health leaflets.

Who to contact

Call 111 and press option 2 for the First Response Service - a 24-hour service for people in a mental health crisis. This service is for anyone, of any age, who is registered with a GP  in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough. Specially-trained mental health staff will speak to you and discuss with you your mental health care needs – instead of you having to go to accident and emergency departments of local acute hospitals.

Between 9am-5pm, Monday–Friday

  • CPFTcare co-ordinator: If you are already receiving support from mental health services, the first point of contact should be your care co-ordinator. Your care plan will contain information on how to contact them. If they are not available, ask to speak to the clinician on duty.
  • Your GP: If you are in crisis and need immediate help, then please contact your GP.

Out of hours

  • CPFT out-of-hours service: An out-of hours telephone support service, run by Lifeline, is available for CPFT’s service users who are experiencing a crisis in their mental health. The service is also available for carers who are concerned about the mental health of a service user. The out-of-hours telephone number is 0808 808 2121. This is available every day, including weekends, from 7pm-11pm.
  • Emergency doctor: All GP surgeries have an out-of-hours number that you can call in an emergency. The out-of-hours doctor may assess the situation over the phone, ask you to attend a clinic/service, or may come out to assess the service user. They will be able to arrange any necessary specialist assessments.
  • Local walk-in centre: Most centres are open 365 days a year and outside office hours. Some newly opened centres may offer different opening hours during their first few months.


  • A&E: If you are not able to obtain the support you need through the methods above, you can call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department. They will be able to assess your needs and contact mental health services to arrange an assessment or hospitalisation if necessary.
  • 111 service: If you are feeling unwell and need a telephone health assessment, please call the NHS 111 service free of charge from any phone by dialling 111. If you feel you are in a mental health crisis, call 111 and then press option 2, which will put you through to the First Response Service.
  • Samaritans: If you feel you urgently need to speak to someone, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 116 123.
  • Lifeline Cambridge and Peterborough: If you are experiencing emotional distress and urgently need to speak to someone, Lifeline is available seven days a week between 7pm–11pm on freephone 0808 808 2121
  • Police: If the person you care for is being violent, threatening or you feel at risk, you should contact the police directly by dialling 999.


  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) provides service users, their carers and families with help, information and support to resolve concerns quickly and efficiently. To find out more click here. Email PALS via or call 0800 376 0775 (Office hours Monday to Friday)


Further information

The page was last updated on 10 August 2017 by andrea.bateman.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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