Health officials are planning to review the way A&E services are run in England.
Experts have said that urgent and emergency services need to adapt to meet rising demand.
The NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) said the review will recommend the best way of organising care to meet the needs of patients.
The review, led by NHSCB medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, could recommend that heart attack and stroke patients are treated at specialist centres instead of local A&E centres.
Sir Bruce said: "The NHS is there for all of us and should offer appropriate, effective and rapid care whenever and wherever it is needed.
"Treatments for many common conditions such as heart attacks and strokes have evolved considerably over the last decade and are now best treated in specialist centres. Yet we know people want their A&E nearby.
"This makes me think we need to review the increasingly complex and fragmented system of urgent and emergency care, so that sick, anxious and often frightened people can get what they need, when they need it."
NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar said: "Local urgent and emergency care services are seeing demand rising, year on year. There is no getting away from the fact that the current structure of these services needs to change if we are to secure the best-quality patient experience, improve clinical outcomes and, ultimately, save lives."
He added: "The review by Sir Bruce will help clarify the best arrangement of services. It is essential that patients, local communities and their representatives - including local and national politicians - are properly engaged in the debate. No change is not an option."
The NHSCB added that it wants to improve public understanding about the best places to go for urgent care.