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Rapid Access Clinic for Older People (RACOP) ED leaflet

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  • Following your discharge from hospital we have referred you to an outpatient clinic for further medical assessment.
  • The RACOP (Rapid Access Clinic for the Older Person) provides rapid clinic assessment for any patient with frailty or complex needs, irrespective of age. Patients are referred to the clinic from GPs, community services, various hospital teams and A&E.
  • The aim of this clinic is to give you a more comprehensive assessment during one longer visit to the hospital, rather than asking you to return to the hospital many times for lots of shorter assessments and investigations.
  • This approach also allows the team to look at all of your needs together and take them all into account in deciding the best course of treatment and care for you. This may involve a review of your mobility and / or social needs, for example alongside your medical condition.
  • The clinic sees patients in the order of priority according to need, so you may not always hear from them immediately once you have been referred.

Your visit to RACOP.

  • Once you arrive in clinic you may be seen in the order in which you attend or in the order of clinical priority. Appointments with the doctor can take up to an hour depending on the complexity of your needs.
  • You should come prepared to spend most of the day at the clinic. We will provide light refreshments. You may bring along a friend or a family member to keep you company, but transport cannot always be guaranteed for them. Please contact us in advance if you wish them to travel with you.
  • Please bring your medications with you as we may need to make changes. Also you may need some of your medications during the day, especially painkillers, insulin and other essential medicines.

What happens at RACOP?

  • To start with you will be seen by one of our nurses who will take your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, weight and check your oxygen and blood sugar levels.
  • You may also have some blood tests, if requested by the clinic doctor, and they will have reviewed your notes prior to seeing you.
  • A heart trace (electrocardiogram or ECG) may also be performed. This involves attaching several pads to your chest, arms and legs so that we can see how well your heart is working electrically.
  • The doctor will then see you. You have the option to bring anyone into the clinic with you. After assessment by the doctor you may require other tests which may include an x ray, a CT scan, an ultrasound scan or an echocardiogram. We try to arrange these for the same day, but can’t always promise this.
  • RACOP is a teaching clinic so you may be asked permission for a medical student, student nurse or a community nurse to sit in during your assessment. Please let us know if you would prefer them not to be present. You may be asked to provide written feedback of the performance of your doctor in clinic.
  • At the end of your appointment we hope to have a much clearer idea of what is troubling you and what your condition may be in order to put a plan of action in place.

What happens next?

  • Go home. Before you go we will tell you about the tests we did and what our initial findings were. We will tell your GP about our findings and tell your pharmacy if any changes need to be made to your medications.
  • A short stay in hospital. The aim of this clinic is to prevent you from being admitted to hospital unless this is absolutely necessary. However it may be that the team at the clinic decide that a short stay in hospital, for further investigations and treatment, is in your best interests. If you do need to stay in hospital, after full discussion with you, then you will usually be admitted straight to a ward from the clinic.
  • Follow up appointments. You may need to come back to a clinic to see another specialist team or come back to us for further review. We will let you know if this is the case and we will write to give the details of any other appointments that you need to attend.
  • Sometimes the doctor can follow up your test results by letter but we will let you know this when you are seen.

Contact RACOP.

  • Royal Sussex County Hospital, Telephone 01273 523045 Monday to Friday 0830 until 1630.
  • Princess Royal Hospital, Telephone 01444 448745 extension 8583, Monday to Thursday 0830 until 1500.
  • Clinic times and locations may change, please see or call our switchboard for further information if you are not able to contact the clinic.

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
  • NHS 111 phone line offers medical help and advice from trained advisers supported by nurses and paramedics. Available 24 hours a day. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
  • There are walk-in and urgent treatment services at Brighton Station, in Crawley and at Lewes Victoria Hospital.
  • Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can be contacted with your comments and concerns, and to provide general support. Email

RSCH, telephone 01273 664683.

PRH, telephone 01444 448678.

PALS, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5BE.


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.

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