Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department Information for patients attending A&E
Welcome to A&E at Basildon University Hospital. We are sorry that you need to use the A&E service and understand that you will be anxious. We want to make your visit as efficient, comfortable and safe as possible. We hope the following information will help you.
Waiting times vary considerably depending on the time of day and the number of patients and seriousness of their condition. All patients are assessed by a nurse (a process called triage) and given a priority depending on their illness or injury. Patients are seen in four different areas of the department: minors (for minor injuries and illnesses), majors (for serious conditions), resuscitation and the children's department. Patients are seen in order of arrival in their category.Therefore, someone who arrived after you may go through to see a doctor before you. This does not mean they have jumped the queue; they are just in a different treatment category to you.
We aim to treat everyone as quickly as possible. If you would like an approximate waiting time, please ask the triage nurse when you are assessed. But please bear in mind that it is often difficult to predict, as some patients take longer to assess and treat than others.
Before approaching you, your nurse and doctor should wash their hands or use the alcohol sanitiser. If you do not see them do so, please feel free to ask anyone caring for you if they have cleaned their hands.
The hand washing facilities are for you to use also; please do so on arrival and every time you re-enter the department if you go elsewhere.
All staff should have bare arms (below the elbows); this includes no watch or jewellery (except a plain wedding band).
All trolleys and cubicles are cleaned thoroughly after each patient and equipment is checked and cleaned throughout the day. The department is constantly monitored to ensure it is safe and clean, but if you see anything that concerns you, please tell a member of staff.
We understand patients coming to A&E are worried and need the support of family or friends. But, unless it has been agreed otherwise with the nurse in charge, we ask your cooperation in limiting this to no more than two people per patient please.
Unless you are exempt from prescription charges, the current NHS prescription charge will apply per item for any medicines prescribed for you. You will need to pay this when collecting your medicine from the hospital pharmacy or, if your medicine is dispensed in A&E, the hospital accounts department will send you a bill. Payment can be made over the telephone on 01268 593206. If you are exempt, you will be asked to provide proof of this.
Some medicines such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen can be purchased cheaply in pharmacies or supermarkets. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you wish to purchase your own rather than pay the prescription charge.
New Gold-Standard A&E for 2012
The A&E department is undergoing a major £17 million refurbishment. There are multiple phases as the construction is taking place around the existing facilities. This involves a huge challenge for us as we continue to provide an emergency service. Some areas have already been completed, but you may experience temporary facilities in others. We apologise for the look and feel of the department while this major work is taking place. We are working with our builders to keep disruption to a minimum.
If you have any concerns about any aspect of your care or about the cleanliness of the department, please talk to your nurse or ask to see one of the management team. We welcome your comments about any aspect of your visit.