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Emergency Department

Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s Emergency Department deals with a wide variety of patients. Typically patients will come to our Emergency Department for the following reasons:

  • Minor or major injury/illness ( ‘Minors’ and ‘Majors’) –  
    • ‘Minor’ cases are patients with less serious injuries who usually make their own way to the Emergency Department.
    • ‘Major’ cases will usually arrive by ambulance with more serious conditions
  • Resuscitation ( ‘Resus’) – Seriously ill patients requiring immediate assessment and intervention.
  • GP Referrals – Patients who have been referred to the hospital by their GP or other healthcare professional to see one of the speciality doctors.

What happens when I arrive in the Emergency Department?

When you arrive you will be seen by our initial assessment service. A healthcare professional will register your details and also assess the severity of your condition to determine your treatment priority. To minimise any pain and discomfort we can provide pain relief and also arrange any tests that may be required before seeing one of our doctors.

The initial assessment service may also refer you to your own GP or the out of hours GP service if your condition isn’t so serious that it needs immediate attention.

What happens next?

This depends on the reason for your attendance to the department and your symptoms:

  • Minors – You will be seen by a Nurse, Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP), Paramedic or Doctor who will assess you and prescribe treatment, investigations and discharge or refer you as appropriate.
  • Majors – You will normally be seen first by one of the nursing staff to make an initial assessment. They may ask questions relating to your general health and aspects of your daily life. They will perform some routine tests such as pulse, blood pressure or if necessary blood or urine samples.

When you are seen by a doctor you will be examined and they may require some additional tests. At this point they may be able to tell you if you will need to stay in hospital or if you need to be referred to a specialty doctor.

How long will I wait to see a doctor?

This depends on:

  • How many patients are waiting
  • How many emergencies the team has to deal with
  • If the specialty doctors are available or in theatre

During very busy times, if your condition is not life threatening, you may have to wait a few hours. This does not mean that you are not important to us. Our team are doing all that we can to make the service as quick and efficient as possible. If, however, you are concerned about the length of wait, please do enquire with a member of the team.

Important information for patients, relatives and visitors

Psychiatric Nurse

We have a specialist nurse who works in the department Monday to Friday.

Food and drink

If you’re a patient, we ask that you don’t eat or drink in the department, until you’ve been seen by a doctor, as this can sometimes delay treatment. We also ask relatives not to eat and drink within clinical areas due to infection control issues and hygiene.

There is a water cooler in the department and a tea and coffee machine can be found in the waiting area. If you are diabetic and your sugars are low we are able to provide snacks so please ask for assistance.

Food and drink

We respectfully ask the following:

  • Patients: Please do not eat or drink in the department, until you’ve been seen by a doctor, as this can sometimes delay treatment.
  • Relatives: Please do not eat and drink within clinical areas due to infection control issues and hygiene.

There is a water cooler in the department. The waiting area also has a range of vending machines, providing snacks and hot and cold drinks.

If you are diabetic and your sugars are low we are able to provide snacks so please ask for assistance.

We will provide patients with hot drinks and snacks such as sandwiches if they’re going to be subject to extended waiting times.

Telephone enquiries

We appreciate that relatives and friends will want to know how you are. To maximise the time that our nursing staff spend with our patients we would please ask that only one family member (or friend) calls on your behalf for any updates.

For us to maintain patient confidentiality our staff are restricted in the information they can provide over the telephone, therefore, only general information will be given.

                         

Contact Us

Department     Telephone Number  
Emergency Department enquiries 01480 428984

Please note, we are unable to provide telephone advice or health information, please contact your GP or NHS direct on 0845 4647.