What is an emergency?
We want to make sure the care you receive during a medical emergency is quick, easy to access and approriate for your needs. Choosing the right health service for your condition or injury is vital if you are to get the best treatment.
Our Emergency Deparments (EDs) at Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General Hospitals are open 24 hours-a-day every day of the year. Our emergency teams treat around 120,000 patients every year and are here to treat anyone with:
- life or limb-threatening injuries
- serious head injuries
- chest pain
- severe abdominal (stomach) pains
- heavy bleeding
- broken limbs (fractures)
- breathing difficulties
If you have any other kind of minor injury or general health query it may be more appropriate for you to seek treatment elsewhere. Visit the county's Choose Well website to find out where to get medical help and advice locally.
Minor Injury Units (MIUs) can treat a range of injuries and may not be as busy as the major EDs. These include:
- minor wounds
- minor burns
Your GP and the Out-of-Hours service can also treat the following:
- flare-ups of long-standing illness
- mental health
- general aches and pains
- ear ache
You can also get health advice from NHS Direct either online or by calling 0845 46 47.
What to expect at the Emergency Department
Anyone who attends one of our EDs (A&E) with an emergency condition can expect to be seen by a triage nurse and treated within four hours of arrival. If you do not have an emergency condition you may be advised to seek help from your GP or another more appropriate source of care.
Please be aware that we prioritise the treatment of our patients according to the seriousness of their condition so you may see people who arrived after you being treated before you.
If you have been waiting more than 30 minutes without being seen by a nurse or doctor please speak to the receptionist.
Treating your child in an emergency
If your child has a minor injury it may be best for them to attend your local Minor Injury Unit rather than the Emergency Department. Many health concerns which occur outside of normal working hours can also be managed by the GP Out of Hours services or other health services such as pharmacies. Please visit the Choose Well site for information on these local services.
If your child is critically ill or needs to be admitted to one of our hospitals they will be taken via ambulance to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where specialist paediatricians (children's doctors) can provide your child with the care they need. Please note there is no longer a paediatric assessment facility at Cheltenham General Hospital.
If you are pregnant
If you become unwell while pregnant and need to attend the Emergency Department you may also be transferred to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where you can be cared for with the help of trained obstetricians and midwives who are based in our state-of-the-art Women's Centre.
If you have a general concern about your health during pregnancy please call your midwife for advice or the delivery suites or birth units for advice and support. Read more about our maternity services.
Our Emergency Department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH) is now a major trauma unit. Major trauma describes serious and often multiple injuries where there is a strong possibility of death or disability. These might include serious head, chest, abdominal and skeletal injuries sustained as a result of accidents, sport or violence. More than half of major trauma is caused by road traffic accidents.
Being a trauma unit means we provide specialist care for all but the most severe major trauma patients. These patients will usually be taken by ambulance directly to our nearest major trauma centre in Bristol. When it is not possible to get to the major trauma centre within 45 minutes, or where the patient needs to be stabilised quickly, patients in Gloucestershire will be taken to GRH - the local trauma unit - for immediate treatment and stabilisation before being transferred on to the major trauma centre.
Find out more about the trauma unit and other services changes planned for healthcare in Gloucestershire.