I’ve arrived – what happens next?

Everyone who arrives at our Emergency Department or Urgent Treatment Centre will be assessed the same way:

  • You will complete the online assessment via the digital streaming tool on the Smart devices in our waiting room and one of our receptionists will either book you in or give you an appointment to return. They will need to ask you some personal information and a brief reason for your attendance.
  • You will be directed to the waiting area.
  • One of our Triage nurses will call your name and assess your symptoms - we may ask you several questions about your reason for attending and take observations such as your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.
  • Depending on your symptoms you may be advised to attend an alternative service such as your GP surgery, a pharmacy, self-care at home, be given an appointment to return to the department or return to the waiting area to be seen by the clinical team.

Following initial triage, we categorise your symptoms according to clinical urgency. This can affect your waiting time.

Depending on your reason for attending, you will be seen by a clinician in one of our treatment areas or we may refer you to a different department in the hospital.

The Majors area of ED has six-sub zones:

  1. Zone one (purple)
  2. Zone two (yellow)
  3. Zone three (green)
  4. Zone four (pink)
  5. Zone five (blue)
  6. Zone six (orange)

We may request additional tests including blood test, ECG, scan or X-ray. There may be a wait while we process these results.

We may take observations several times throughout your stay.

You will be seen by a member of the clinical team. During busy periods the wait time may vary.

If you require treatment, you will be taken into one of our treatment areas.

A decision will be made to admit you or discharge you with treatment and advice.

You may be referred to a specialist team for further assessment.

We aim to ensure that all patients are seen as soon as possible, but it is very difficult to predict how long you will have to wait.

The triage system ensures that patients requiring immediate attention are seen before other patients, whose problem may be distressing, but who are safe to wait for treatment. Waiting times vary and depend on the number of patients waiting, as well as the severity of their conditions. The triage nurse will inform you of approximate waiting times. This information can also be found on the TV screen in the waiting room.

The waiting time may increase suddenly when seriously ill or injured patients arrive or when patients’ conditions worsen which will require immediate attention. We will try to keep you updated of such changes in waiting times. At times, it may appear quiet in the waiting room, but this does not reflect activity within the department. Many unwell patients arrive by ambulance at the side entrance.

For patients who are waiting to see an in-patient specialty team (e.g. Orthopaedics, Medicine, Surgery etc) the waiting time is different and not controlled by the Emergency Department. The same applies if you require admission to a ward and sometimes there may be a considerable delay before you are transferred out of ED. We will keep you informed on progress of this.