Emergency Department

A & E departments, otherwise known as the emergency department (ED), assess and treat people with serious illness or injuries. There are more than 21 million emergency department attendances in the UK each year, of these approximately 40 000 people will be treated and admitted due to a serious injury. Trauma patients usually arrive in the ED either via ambulance or helicopter. The hospital receives a telephone call from the ambulance or helicopter staff informing them that a patient is on the way to the hospital. After the call, a specialist group of doctors gathers in the ED, ready to assess the patient and treat them as soon as possible. Some patients will arrive very sick and may require emergency lifesaving surgery.

The emergency department is a very busy department with lots of doctors and nurses. As a family member or loved one you will often be asked to wait outside the ED while the doctors assess the severity of the injury. From the ED, patients can be discharged home with medical advice if they are not severely injured. Alternatively they may go to radiology for more tests, the operating theatre, critical care, or a ward in the hospital.