Your treatment starts as soon as you come into the department. On arrival, you will see a specialist emergency clinician called a triage nurse who will assess how serious your condition is. This allows patients with life-threatening problems to be seen first.

Waiting for treatment

You will be asked to wait in the waiting room. How long you have to wait will depend on how busy the department is and the number of patients whose conditions are more serious than yours. The staff will do their best to keep your wait to a minimum. If you feel your condition changes or you need pain relief while you are waiting please let the staff know. If you have been waiting for some time and you need food or drink, the staff will get you something to eat or drink.

Diagnostic tests

You may be sent for an x-ray. Please wait in the waiting room on your return. Blood samples may be taken to be sent to our pathology department for analysis. It can sometimes take a long time for the results to come back as they are often very busy.

You may be asked to attend one of our other assessment clinics such as AMU (acute medical assessment unit) or SDEC (same-day emergency clinic) for more tests. These clinics can also be very busy at times and you may have a further wait.


Once your tests are back, the Emergency clinician will discuss with you the results and the options available to treat your condition. They may decide to refer you to a more specialist clinician either as an inpatient or they will make an appointment for you to see a specialist in an outpatient clinic.

Admission to a hospital ward

If you are admitted to a hospital ward we will ask you to consent to a Covid-19 swab to make sure you are cared for safely. We will transfer you to a bed on a ward although you may be required to remain in a bed in the corridor for a temporary period whilst availability on a bay is sought. You will be reviewed and assessed by our clinical team before receiving care in this way and you will continue to have similar access to a registered nurse as well as other facilities.

If you are already in a bed on the ward it may be necessary for you to move and be cared for in a bed in the corridor for a temporary period. This will depend on the clinical need of patients. These arrangements are also in place for patients sent for direct admission by their GP.

We would like to apologise in advance for any discomfort or distress that this may cause. If you require anything during your wait while in the Emergency Department, such as pain relief or food and drink, or would like to raise any points of concern in relation to your care when moved onto a ward, please let a member of staff know.

Although we may be very busy, your comfort is important to us, so please ask.

Visitors to the emergency department

Having family with you can ease the stress, so family and friends are welcome. However, if the department is very busy the staff may ask your visitors to wait in the waiting room

Telephone enquiries

Enquires about patients are welcome if you are unable to talk to your loved one personally. One person should make the call and then inform other family members. It is important to limit the number of calls as the department is busy and telephone calls take staff away from caring for patients. Alternatively, our PALS department may be able to find out some information for you


It is best to ask a friend or relative to look after your valuables while you are in the emergency department. The Trust will only take responsibility for items that have been formally receipted for safekeeping.