Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC)
0300 422 3618
8am - 6m (Mon-Fri)
The Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) in Cheltenham General Hospital provides same-day emergency care.
This means that patients are assessed, diagnosed, treated, and able to go home on the same day; without being admitted to the hospital overnight. Before being asked to attend AEC you will have been assessed by your GP, the Emergency Department, or Out of Hours staff; they will have decided you are well enough not to be admitted into our Emergency Department or medical wards.
While on AEC you will be given further health assessments by the Acute Medical Team. Due to limited space and our patients' safety, security and dignity, we ask that any person accompanying you wait elsewhere in the hospital.
What happens in AEC?
Patients in the AEC are assessed, diagnosed, treated and are able to go home the same day, without being admitted overnight.
Patients who visit the AEC usually follow six simple steps, however your individual journey through AEC may vary slightly:
1. Before you arrive
You may have been referred to the AEC by your GP, the Emergency Department (A&E) or by another route.
2. Arrive at AEC
You will be greeted by a member of staff who will introduce themselves and the unit facilities. You will also be given an indication of how long you will be on the Unit.
3. Initial assessment
A nurse or doctor will undertake an initial assessment. They will ask you to explain your symptoms and the background to your illness.
You may have to wait while staff arrange investigations such as Xrays, blood tests and/or scans
Once the results from your tests are known, the staff will create a treatment plan for you which will usually begin on the Unit.
6. Next steps
Once your care in Ambulatory Emergency Care is complete you can go home. The staff will let you know the next steps for your treatment before you leave, which may include returning to the Unit for continued treatment and a review. If you have any queries or concerns after you leave the Unit please call us to discuss or if your condition worsens, call your family doctor.
How long will I need to be in hospital?
Many of the investigations we carry out require a few hours for the results to be available. It is common for our patients to be with us for over 4 hours.
Information for GPs and staff
Suitable medical patients will be accepted when there is capacity within our AEC units and there is a reasonable prospect of the patient being ready for discharge within the opening times of the Unit.
The AEC Unit can now take referrals from GPs via the Single Point of Clinical Access (SPCA) helpline.
Patients can also be referred to the AEC by staff in our Emergency Departments (A&E).
How to make a referral
The AEC units accept referrals from GPs via the SPCA and via the Emergency Departments when patients are identified as being suitable for treatment in the AEC.
All GP's in the county can refer patients through the Single Point of Clinical Access (SPCA).
SPCA Opening times: 08:00 – 22:00 between Monday to Friday. 09:00 – 17:00 on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays
Patients who present with the following conditions (or potential conditions) can be referred via the specific condition pathway:
- possible pulmonary embolism (PE)
- lower limb cellulitis
- atrial fibrillation
- community-acquired pneumonia
- possible renal colic
- pleural effusion
- possible upper limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- spontaneous pneumothorax.
You can email the AEC team on the following email addresses. Please be aware it may take a few days for a response, depending on demand:
Opening hours, location and contact details
Cheltenham General Hospital:
- Tel: 0300 422 3618
- Opening hours: 8am - 6pm, Monday - Friday
- Location: There are signs throughout Cheltenham General Hospital to help you find us. If you arrive by the Emergency Department entrance (off College Road), we are located along the corridor, near the lifts.