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Emergency Duty Service

This service aims to provide an emergency social work service outside normal office hours on behalf of the 6 unitary authorities in Berkshire. The objective of the service is:

  • to respond to emergencies where immediate social care intervention is required to safeguard a vulnerable adult or child
  • to respond to all statutory referrals to the unitary authorities
  • to offer single point of access
  • to undertake initial screening for those individuals who find themselves in need of emergency accommodation
  • crisis intervention where there is significant welfare concerns that cannot wait until the next working day

In the areas of Bracknell, Wokingham and Reading the Emergency Duty Service (EDS) will provide an intermediate care service including arranging temporary homecare or domiciliary care to avoid placement in nursing homes or residential care. We also respond to people with enquiries about their homecare.

EDS will divert all other homecare enquiries to avoid placement in nursing homes or residential care for the areas of Slough, West Berkshire or Windsor and Maidenhead to the following:

  • Slough Borough Council - out of hours homecare / intermediate care – 01753 475111
  • Windsor and Maidenhead Council - 01628 621981
  • West Berkshire Council – 01635 503050

The Emergency Duty Service can assist by:

  • providing advice and information
  • visiting to assess your situation to make sure of your safety and welfare until the next working day

Roles and responsibilities

The service is staffed by skilled call facilitators, senior approved mental health professionals and senior child care support workers.

Your call will be answered by a call facilitator who, in conjunction with the social work shift lead, will assess your situation. Please be aware that child and vulnerable adult Safeguarding and Mental Health Act assessments will be given the highest priority.

The service can only deal with referrals which occur out of office hours. Referrals made during the day to local social services and housing departments should be resolved by the respective office.

A record of all referrals to the emergency duty service will be made and referred onto the relevant local office.

At busy times your call may be held in a queue. Please note all our telephone calls are recorded for quality assurance purposes.

Hours of operation

The service is operational to the general public from 5pm to 9am Monday to Friday and from 5pm Friday to 9am Monday, to cover weekends. Bank holidays are covered in the same way as weekends.

Contact information

Emergency Duty Service

Telephone Number 01344 786543


Available 5pm to 9am weekdays, 24hrs on weekends and bank holidays

Text phone: 07867 907877 (for service users with hearing and speaking difficulties)

SMS: 07860 035331 (put 'EDS' at the top of your message, 125 characters maximum - this will eventually replace the text phone)