Emergency Zone Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be in the Emergency Department?

Is it an emergency? 

  • Pharmacists can help with many ailments, from colds to long-term conditions. 
  • Your GP can help with ongoing health conditions and non-urgent medical matters.
  • Call NHS 111 if you need urgent medical help but it's not an emergency.
  • Our Minor Injuries Unit can help with cuts that need stitches and broken bones. 
  • Our Emergency Department treat serious and life threatening emergencies. 

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Which Investigations will I have?

X-rays, blood tests and other investigations are arranged at the discretion of the doctor or practitioner seeing you. You may feel you need a certain test but you do not get one. This is because all tests carry risks and unless the treatment will be different with the result we try to avoid testing everyone.

Blood test results take an average of one and a half to two hours to come back, but this can vary depending on how busy the lab is. 

X-rays are reported in the following few days by a radiologist (specialist doctor) and you may be contacted if this reveals anything new though this is uncommon.

What happens if I have been already referred to a Specialty in the hospital?

If you have been referred by your GP or another hospital to a particular team you will often have to register at the emergency department.

Certain conditions still get seen by the ED practitioners but others will be seen directly by the speciality doctors after the GP.

Although this team will be expecting you, they may not be able to see you immediately. This is because they cover the whole hospital and may be busy with an ill patient on the ward or in theatre.

Can I get a second opinion in ED?

Unfortunately we are unable to provide a second opinion and there are some tests and appointments that only your GP can provide.

What do the different areas mean?

See and treat

This is our minor injuries unit (MIU) and where most injuries get seen. At 1am  MIU closes and all patients will be seen in the ED, along with the majors and resus patients. This means that after 1am patients with minor injuries may be considerably longer.


This is where patients who are seriously medically unwell are assessed and treated. Patients sometimes get moved from here to another area when necessary.


This where our most unwell patients are cared for and receive emergency treatments.

Observation Unit

This is an area with reclining chairs where some patients who are able mobile are seen. There are the same investigations and doctors available as in the majors area. Some patients may be moved here after being seen to wait for test results or treatments.

Everyone asks me for the same information. Don’t you talk to each other?

There are a many different people involved in your care within the Emergency Department. For your safety, we frequently ask you your details and check for allergies. We may also repeat other questions to make sure we have the information correct. This will help us care for you in the best way possible.

What do I do if I need a quiet space?

For example for patients with mental health problems or a learning disability.
Please ask the triage nurse if you would benefit from a quieter space and we will do our best to accommodate this, subject to how busy the department is.

Where can I get refreshments?

Vending machines can be found at the back of the ED waiting room. For any issues, please call the number displayed on the machine as these are supplied by an external company.
There are Cafes & Shops on Level 1 of the Brunel building. 

Where can I get cash?

There is a cashpoint on Level 1 in the main Atrium of the Brunel building opposite the pharmacy. Unfortunately, we do not have change on reception for vending machines and there are no change machines within the hospital.

How can I get a taxi from ED?

There is a phone on the reception desk that you may use to call a taxi. There is usually taxi numbers next to the phone. If you would like reception to assist you, please ask.

What about my regular medications?

We know that often people wait in the emergency department for a number of hours. If you or your relative are due regular medications during this time please check with your doctor or nurse if you should take them. In the majority of cases we encourage patients to take their regular medications as missing doses can make you more unwell.

Do I get a discharge summary after attending ED?

Your GP will get a brief letter to inform them of your attendance at the emergency department and what tests you have had done. If you have been advised in ED to follow up with your GP we encourage you to arrange an appointment to see them rather than wait for them to get in touch.

Can I get a sick note from ED?

We do not provide sick notes in the emergency department.

You can self-certify (be off work) for one week legally before your employer can demand a sick note. If you are likely to need to be off work longer than this please make an appointment with your GP to discuss a sick note.

How can I give feedback about ED?

You can give feedback via the Friends & Family Test.

For advice, support, to say thank you or to raise a concern contact Advice & Complaints

Emergency Zone Frequently Asked Questions