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Patient assessment and triage (PAT) at the emergency department

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Overview


  • You have come to the PAT area to be assessed by the Patient Assessment and Triage (PAT) team.
  • This team works at the front door of the Emergency Department at the Royal Sussex County Hospital to quickly assess patients who arrive by ambulance.
  • Between the hours of 12 noon and 9 pm on a weekday you will be seen by a senior nurse and by a senior doctor in the PAT area and outside those hours you will be assessed by a senior nurse.
  • The aim of this process is to quickly assess how unwell you are and to ensure that you go to the correct area within the Emergency Department.
  • As part of the PAT process, you may have blood tests and x rays or scans organized. You will then be moved to another part of the Department.

Things to remember


  • If you feel more unwell while in the department please let a member of staff know. You can do this by letting the nurse who has seen you know or by pressing the call bell if you are in a cubicle.
  • If you need more pain relief please let a member of staff know and we will arrange this for you.

What happens between 12pm and 9pm?


  • On arriving by ambulance, you will be seen by a Senior Emergency Nurse who will take a hand-over from the ambulance staff that brought you to hospital.
  • A set of observations will be taken, such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature and oxygen saturations.
  • You will then be seen by a Senior Emergency Medicine Doctor who will ask you some questions and examine you.
  • The Senior Doctor will decide whether you need further investigations and these will be arranged for you.
  • As part of the process someone may come and take blood tests if these are necessary. You may receive antibiotics if this is appropriate, as well as pain relief if you need it. Please tell us if you need pain relief.
  • After this assessment, you will be moved to another part of the Department to wait for the necessary tests to be performed.
  • If you require scans, a porter or radiographer will come and take you to x-ray/scanning room.
  • You will then be reviewed by another doctor within the department who will review the results of the tests and tell you about your further management.
  • Sometimes you are referred directly to a Specialty team. Unfortunately these teams are often busy and so it can take some time for them to come and see you but it is their specialist care that you require. While you are waiting we will try to make you comfortable.

What happens outside of these hours and at weekends?


  • On arriving by ambulance, you will be seen by a Senior Emergency Nurse who will take a hand-over from the ambulance crew who brought you to hospital.
  • A set of observations will be taken: heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature and oxygen saturations.
  • As part of your management, someone may come and take blood tests if these are necessary. You may receive antibiotics if needed, as well as pain relief. Please tell us if you need pain relief.
  • After this, you will be moved to another part of the Department where you will be seen by another nurse who will provide you with any care you require.
  • You will also be seen by a doctor who will ask you some questions and examine you.
  • Tests will be arranged if needed: blood tests if not already done and x-rays or other scans should you need them.
  • Once the results of investigations are back, the doctor will review you again and tell you about the further management you need.

Waiting in the corridor area


  • Unfortunately sometimes the hospital is extremely busy and beds may be full so patients are having to stay in the Emergency Department longer than we would like.
  • This may mean that you are placed in a non-cubicle area after your PAT assessment.
  • While in this area, to protect your dignity, your doctor will not ask you any health questions and no investigations will be performed. To have these things done you will be taken for a short period of time to a cubicle area but will have to be returned to the non-cubicle area afterwards to allow for other patients to be assessed.
  • You will not stay in a non-cubicle area longer than is necessary. As soon as a suitable cubicle is available for you, we will move you there. Sometimes really unwell patients will have to be moved to a treatment area before you for life saving treatments.
  • If you need anything while in the noncubicle area, please let a member of staff know. There are dedicated members of staff for this area but any staff member will try and help you should you need anything.

General support


For general medical advice please use the NHS website, the NHS 111 service, walk-in-centres, or your GP.

  • The NHS website provides online health information and guidance.


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

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

Publication Date: August 2019

Review Date: December 2021

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