The Emergency Department or A&E is where you will be taken if you have an accident or in the event of an emergency, either by being brought in by ambulance or by making your own way to hospital.
Our A&E departments operate 24 hours a day, every day and have staff who are equipped to deal with all emergencies. Patients are triaged (assessed) and seen in order of need, usually with a separate minor injuries area supported by nurses.
You should only attend our emergency departments if you have:
- severe chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- bleeding you cannot stop
- possible broken bones
- loss of consciousness
Keeping patients and staff safe in the emergency department
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought extra pressures and challenges for the team in the hospital. So it’s more important than ever to keep our staff and patients safe.
You may not know the NHS has introduced a new system for people needing urgent medical care when it is not a “life or limb threatening” 999 emergency. If you have an urgent medical problem or you’re not sure what to do, just call NHS 111 first and they’ll make sure you get to the best place for you to be seen safely and quickly.
The NHS 111 team has access to clinical experts and if you need to visit the emergency department, they can book you a time slot when you should attend.
They’ll also let us know when you’re coming. This means you could avoid a lengthy wait in the waiting room and be seen more quickly.
This is really important because we’ve had to reduce the size of our waiting rooms due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Calling NHS 111 first could mean some people do not need to visit A&E at all. Their needs could be met by visiting a pharmacy or arranging an appointment at their GP practice. The NHS 111 team will advise on the right thing to do.
If you arrive at the emergency department without contacting NHS 111 first, you will still be seen, but you may have to wait longer unless you need immediate treatment.Mid and South Essex Hospitals Accident and Emergency Departments