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A & E - Casualty

accident and emergency - casualty

If you find yourself in Casualty / A&E it can be pretty worrying –These departments have been our lifesavers and our most irritating departments with waiting times being the main cause of complaint from the patients, and the staff having to deal with the understandable frustrations. A big part of the job is to keep you informed about waiting times.

Admission to A&E departments should only include patients who have suffered –

  • Loss of consciousness/ serious head injury
  • Heavy blood loss
  • Suspected broken bones or dislocation
  • Persistent chest pain for 15 minutes or more
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Overdose, ingestion or poisoning
  • Severe stomach ache that isn’t relieved with over the counter medicine
  • Seizures lasting longer than five minutes

These can be life threatening and need urgent attention.

Patients with other ailments such as cuts, sprains and grazes can be seen at their GP’s surgery/or minor injury clinics where they can be attended to in a much shorter waiting time

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How long do I have to wait?

The key aim for all A&E departments is that patients should wait no longer than four hours from admission to discharge, admission or transfer.

Waiting can be frustrating, but please understand that A&E staff do all they can to treat people as quickly as possible. You will not see what is going on behind the scenes and may believe that your injury is important and requires immediate attention. Behind the doors the staff may all be dealing with a person that has been in a road traffic accident.

NHS Direct

 If you do not need immediate care or if you are in doubt as to whether you should go to casualty call: - NHS Direct can be contacted on 0845 4647 they will be able to advise you.

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What is a Triage?

This is a system used in busy A&E departments where either a doctor or highly trained nurse will assess the nature of your injury and categorise you into groups relating to who needs to be treated on a priority basis; this happens when you are bought in by ambulance as well. It is not related to when you arrive in the department it is related to your injury

Some injuries require immediate medical care, trauma victims require surgical intervention within the golden hour- this is a critical time for the patient and has a direct impact on the final outcome.

You may be treated immediately; however it is more likely that you will have to wait. The wait will depend on:

  • How serious your injury or condition is,
  • How busy the department is, and
  • Whether your condition will get worse if left.

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How to help the staff

There are things that you can do when you go to A&E to help the staff

  • Make a list of all medical conditions you have and what medicines you take
  • Note all  allergies you have
  • Note all vitamin/alternative remedies you use regularly
  • Make a note of the name of your GP and the surgery address/telephone number
  • If you are pregnant inform the doctor
  • Ask if you are able to eat and drink as this will make a difference if you need have an operation.

When you are allowed to go home, you will normally have to make your own arrangements to get home from the hospital, most hospitals have bus routes and taxi firms that are regularly used. Make sure you take the hospitals letter to your GP’s when you attend your next appointment.

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