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Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit

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What is the Emergency Ambulatory Care unit?

The Emergency Ambulatory Care unit (EAC) provides same day assessment, care, diagnosis and treatment to patients for many common and easy to treat conditions, including chest pain, abdominal pain, complex headaches, chest infections and wound infections.

You can be referred by your GP, following a visit to the Emergency Department or as part of your discharge plan from a ward in the hospital.

Your referral will be reviewed by the EAC clinical team. You will then be contacted by a member of the EAC team to confirm the date and time you should attend the unit. If your condition deteriorates before your appointment please contact your GP or call 111 for advice.

If you attend the Emergency Department please make them aware you have an appointment on the Emergency Ambulatory Care unit.

What are the benefits of ambulatory care?

Emergency ambulatory care allows us to treat a large number of patients on the day that they attend hospital. By providing rapid assessment by a senior clinician, we can ensure any treatment you require is started as quickly as possible and that if you can go home, you do.

This is a better and more comfortable experience for you, and helps us to make sure patients are seen and out of hospital quickly and safely.

What can I expect when I visit?


Please report to the Emergency Ambulatory Care unit reception where you will be greeted by a member of staff who will introduce themselves and the unit facilities. They will confirm your details and check you in our system.


You will be assessed by a nurse who will take your blood pressure, pulse and temperature. A doctor will then ask you to explain your symptoms and any background to your illness. Depending on your condition they may also carry out some immediate tests such as blood tests or urine tests.


You may require more specific diagnostic test such as an X-ray, CT scan, MRI Scan or Ultrasound.

You will need to wait while staff arrange for these investigations.

Treatments or Procedures

Once the results from your tests are known the team will create a treatment plan for you, which will usually begin on the unit. If you require a procedure, this will also be performed on the unit in most cases.

Some procedures and treatments may require follow up appointments in the Emergency Ambulatory Care unit to complete treatment.

During your visit

Visitors and Relatives

We are happy for you to be accompanied, however the unit is a very busy clinical area and so we ask that a maximum of one relative, friend or carer waits with you.

If you feel there is a medical reason to have more than one person with you then please discuss this with the staff.

We don’t allow children onto the unit; if this is a problem please speak to the nurse in charge.


Tea, coffee, water and snack boxes are available for patients where required, depending on the duration or time of their visits.There is a WRVS shop located just outside the unit for friends or family to use.


If you have been given a time slot to attend the unit, please be on time for your appointment.

Please note that patients are not always seen in time order as you may be waiting to see different specialists.

There may be an element of waiting for parts of your assessment and treatment. Where possible these will be booked to a fixed time to allow you time to get away from the unit and make use of the hospital facilities. Every effort is made to ensure that you are not kept waiting too long. The average time spent in the unit is on average 4-6 hours, although this may be longer for some procedures or complex tests.

Next Steps

Once your care is complete you can go home. The staff will let you know the next steps for your treatment before you leave, which may involve return to the unit for continued treatment and review.

Following treatment some patients will require admission to hospital as part of their care plan; the team will discuss this with you and make the arrangements for your admission.

The treatment provided by the Emergency Ambulatory Care team enables approximately 87 percent of the patients who attend the unit to return home the same day

Going home

We will make you aware of your likely discharge time.

You will be asked to make your own way home or have somebody to collect you. Should this be a problem please ensure the staff in the unit are made aware.

There is a discharge lounge at the front entrance of the hospital for you to use while waiting for someone to collect you.

Further information

Privacy and Dignity

We treat male and female patients in the same location.

You will not be asked to put on a hospital gown unless specifically needed for your treatment or assessment and we will ensure that your privacy and dignity is maintained at all times.

How to find us

Emergency Ambulatory Care unit (EAC)
Level 5
Thomas Kemp Tower
Royal Sussex County Hospital,
Eastern Road, Brighton

Telephone 01273 696955, extension 64002 or 7591.

Opening Hours
8am to 8pm Monday to Sunday.

Feedback: We are always keen to hear feedback about the service we provide and so you will be given a patient questionnaire that we hope you will have the opportunity to complete and hand into reception as you leave.

If you are unhappy with any aspect of your care on the unit please ask to speak to the Nurse in Charge.

Alternatively you can discuss any concerns with our Patient Advice and Liaison team on telephone 01273 696955, Extension 64511 or 64973 or via email

This article is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

The information in this article is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: September 2018

Review Date: December 2022

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