Gloucestershire Royal Hospital


The emergency surgical assessment unit (ESAU) treats patients who have been referred by their GP, or by A&E, to be assessed for emergency treatment.

You will find the unit on the 5th floor of the Tower Block at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Patients don’t usually stay in the unit for more than 24 hours, and will either:

  • be admitted to a ward
  • have surgery
  • be sent home (discharged)

Leaflet for more information

During your stay at ESAU


On admission to the unit, you will be asked not to eat anything, as some investigations require you to have an empty stomach. You can drink water unless you are advised to remain nil by mouth.

You will be seen by a member of the team, who will complete a set of observations. These will include taking your blood pressure and pulse. You will also have a small sample of blood taken for testing. Some patients may have a cannula (small tube) inserted into a vein in their arm to allow staff to take a sample of blood for testing.

If this is the case, the cannula will be left in your arm to allow pain relief or intravenous fluids to be given if needed. If you have any concerns at this point, please discuss these with a member of staff.

You will be asked to wait to be assessed by either the doctor or Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP). Please be patient, we know you are here but we may be seeing other patients who are unwell or need urgent attention.

When the doctor or ANP is available you will be taken to a treatment room to be examined. You can have a relative or carer present, or if you prefer you can request to have a member of staff be with you during the assessment. Following this consultation, any necessary tests or investigations will be requested.


Some investigations may need to be arranged with other departments, for example with radiology, because of this there may be a long wait.

Sometimes more than one investigation is needed, which may require you to come back to the unit the following day. If we can, we will give you a time for the test, however, this is not always possible and may mean you waiting again for some considerable time. If we are unable to give you an appointment time on the day of your assessment or you have to return the following day for a test, we may take your contact number so that we can inform you of your appointment time when we have it.

Treatment plan

Once you have your diagnosis, you may need surgery or further inpatient investigations. If this is the case you will be admitted to a ward.

If you do not need surgery but we feel we would like to continue to monitor your symptoms, you will be given a time and date to come back for further assessment. If we can complete your treatment on this visit, you will be discharged.

Once you have been discharged, if you feel your symptoms are worse or you start to feel unwell, please contact the unit for advice. We can reassess patients up to 48 hours following discharge. After this time, please see your GP or contact NHS 111 for advice.


About your stay

Each year we see thousands of patients in our hospitals.

Our aim is to provide the best care for everyone.

We want to hear about your experiences; what went well, and where we can continue to improve and do better for you, your families, and our communities.

Tell us here