Accident and Emergency

Airedale Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) provides a 24/7 service for the assessment and treatment of patients of all ages with acute illness or injury.  Specifically trained doctors and nurses working in the emergency department are dedicated to providing high quality, evidence-based, emergency care to the local population.

The emergency department is staffed by consultants, associate specialists, middle grade doctors and junior doctors.  In addition, there are several Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENPs) who are trained to see patients with minor injuries. The ED nursing team has advanced emergency training and clinical skills.  The department also benefits from dedicated mental health liaison and alcohol support teams.

Staff in the emergency department work closely with inpatient specialists at Airedale Hospital including anaesthetics, acute medicine, elderly medicine, acute stroke, general surgery, urology, orthopaedics, paediatrics, and obstetrics and gynaecology. Airedale Hospital’s Emergency Department has links with local tertiary referral units for other specialties including vascular surgery, ear, nose and throat (ENT), ophthalmology, oral surgery, plastic surgery, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery. Since April 2013 much of the major trauma care has been diverted to the Major Trauma Centre at the Leeds General Infirmary as part of the West Yorkshire Major Trauma Network.

How do patients access the emergency department?

  • Self-present
  • After taking advice from NHS 111
  • Referral from primary care (GP) or local walk in centres (e.g. Wharfedale Minor Injuries Unit)
  • 999 ambulance (for life threatening emergencies only)

What happens when patients arrive at the emergency department?

  • Patients with immediately life threatening problems will be received in the resuscitation area for immediate assessment and treatment by a senior doctor. 
  • Other patients will be booked in to the department and will receive an initial assessment which includes some basic questions about what has happened, and many patients will have a set of observations recorded.
  • Some patients will have some preliminary investigations and treatments arranged from their initial assessment. This may include blood tests, ECG’s, X-rays and pain relief.
  • Each patient is given a triage category which identifies the priority order in which patients are seen. The more seriously unwell the patient is the sooner they will be seen by a doctor.
  • Some patients will be advised that their complaint will be more appropriately dealt with by a GP and will be advised how to access a GP appointment.
  • Patients will then wait to see a doctor or ENP who will ask some more detailed questions about the current problem and their medical history. The doctor or ENP will then examine the patient and aim to make a diagnosis and provide treatment or advice. They may need to do some additional tests.
  • For some patients it will be necessary to stay in hospital and a bed will be arranged on a suitable ward. A few patients may need to transfer to another hospital if they require more specialised care. Most patients will be discharged from the emergency department and will be advised of any appropriate follow up arrangements.
  • Staff in the emergency department aim to see, treat and discharge or admit all patients within 4 hours of arrival.

For staff to provide the highest standards of emergency care to those who genuinely need it, it is essential that patients are clear about when it is more appropriate to see their own GP, dentist, or seek the advice of a community pharmacist. Many less serious injuries and illnesses, including coughs and colds, minor scrapes, and long standing conditions can safely be managed in the community. This helps to ensure that staff in the emergency department are available to treat those patients in most need of emergency care in a safe and timely fashion. If you are unsure about the most appropriate place to go please contact NHS 111 or your GP surgery before setting off to the emergency department.