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Welcome to the Emergency Department ED

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Your journey through ED.


  • If you arrive at the walk-in entrance, please book in with the reception staff. They will take a few details and book you onto our system. Then they will direct you to the waiting area.
  • If your arrive via ambulance, you will be taken straight to the Patient Assessment and Triage (PAT) area in Majors or straight into the Resuscitation area, if you are seriously ill.

Nurse assessment.

  • A nurse will call you by name to ask you a few questions and to assess the seriousness of your condition. They may also arrange for some tests and provide some pain relief.


  • If you have a minor injury or illness, you will be seen in our Urgent Care Centre. This is staffed with GPs, emergency doctors and emergency nurse practitioners.
  • If you have a more complex condition, you will be seen by one of our emergency doctors in Majors or Resus.
  • Please remember that waiting times can differ between areas and specialists, so other people may be called more quickly than you.

Specialty referrals.

If you have been referred by your GP or another hospital to a particular specialty team, please still register at the Emergency Department. Our staff may also refer you to a specialty team.

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

Your specialty team is (to e advised).

Whilst you are waiting to see them, we may perform some of the following

  • Insert a cannula.
  • Take bloods.
  • Perform an ECG.
  • Arrange an xray, or other imaging.
  • Provide pain relief if needed.

If you are admitted to a ward.

  • If the senior doctor decides that you need to come into hospital for further care, the nurses will request a bed on a ward for you. Unfortunately the NHS nationally is experiencing a lot of pressure due to a lack of hospital beds to admit patients to. This sadly is affecting our hospital, which means you may be waiting several hours to go to a bed on a ward.
  • However that does not mean you will experience a lack of care and treatment. The doctor who has made a decision to admit you to hospital will have written you a personalised plan of care that the nurses will start to implement whilst you are still in the Emergency Department.
  • Once a bed becomes available on a ward, the nurses will inform you of this and arrange your safe transfer.

Going home.

  • Once we feel you are suitable for discharge, we will let you know.
  • We will send your GP a letter with details of your visit to the Emergency Department.
  • If you need an outpatient clinic appointment (for example, the fracture clinic), you will be contacted over the next few days. Please make sure we have your correct contact details.


  • The hospital is well served by public transport. Unfortunately we are unable to provide transport home for most patients.
  • If you want to order a taxi there is a free phone in the Emergency Department waiting area.

The emergency department.

We treat patients who have suffered a recent injury or accident or who have developed a sudden illness. All emergency departments use a priority system where the most seriously ill patients are seen first.

We may direct you somewhere else if

  • Your condition is not felt to be an emergency.
  • You have certain symptoms which mean you need to be seen in another unit such as early pregnancy or sexual health or the eye hospital.

How long will I wait?

We are working hard to see you as quickly as possible. If your condition worsens while you are waiting please do let a member of staff know so that you can be reassessed.

Threatening behaviour.

Staff need be able to carry out their work without fearing for their safety. Anyone who is threatening or aggressive to Trust staff, or damages Trust property, will be asked to leave by security. If appropriate, the Trust will take legal action and press for the maximum penalty.


  • If you have been suffering from a medical problem for more than 48 hours you should first try calling your GP surgery or NHS 111.
  • The NHS website provides online health information and guidance
  • The 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 information is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

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

Review Date: May 2023

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