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Emergency Department

Cornwall’s Emergency Department (ED) is at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro. ED is open 24 hours a day for the treatment of serious and potentially life threatening conditions.

This page was last updated: November 15th, 2021

Is the Emergency Department the best place for you to get treatment?

If it is not a life-threatening emergency and you don’t need immediate medical attention, please consider other options before dialling 999 or coming to the Emergency Department.

Choosing the most appropriate place for care allows ambulance and ED staff to concentrate on people whose lives are at risk, and can potentially save you a long wait.

If you think you may need to go to the emergency department but you’re not sure, you can call 111 for advice.

If your injury or symptoms are not serious, rather than going to the Emergency Department, you can get help from a number of other places such as a GP, dentist, pharmacist or one of the Cornwall’s Minor Injury Units (MIU).

Suspected stroke? Chest pain? Serious injury? Choking? Traumatic blood loss? Loss of consciousness?

You should still call 999 or visit the Emergency Department if someone’s life is at risk.

What happens when I visit the Emergency Department?

The Emergency Department can get very busy. As you’d expect, we assess patients in order of urgency and not necessarily in order of arrival. Most patients are seen and treated, admitted or discharged within four hours and the most seriously ill patients will always take priority.

Who will I see?

A specially trained emergency practitioner (a doctor, nurse or paramedic) will see you as soon as possible after you arrival. They’ll do an immediate assessment of your condition and go through a patient assessment questionnaire.

When will I be treated?

The assessment practitioner will decide on the best course of treatment. This may involve;

  • treating you there and then,
  • sending you for an x­-ray,
  • sending you to another part of the department to be seen by another practitioner,
  • or getting a doctor to examine you

How long will I have to wait?

You can check current waiting times in the Emergency Department, as well as the Urgent Care Centre and Minor Injury Units here.

Occasionally, the ED may not be the best place to treat your condition and you may be advised to go somewhere else, such as a GP, dentist, pharmacist, the Urgent Care Centre in Penzance or a Minor Injury Unit (MIU).

Emergency Referrals from your GP

If you are very unwell, your GP may arrange for you to come to hospital as an emergency.

This usually means you will be taken to hospital by ambulance. You’ll be brought to the Acute Medical Unit (AMU), the Surgical Receiving Unit, the Emergency Department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital or the Urgent Care Centre at West Cornwall Hospital. We also have children’s and maternity specialists on hand when needed.

Depending on the circumstances of your referral and instructions from your GP, you may receive assessment and initial treatment in Ambulatory Care Unit in the Emergency Department, or you may go directly to AMU or the surgical receiving unit.

When you arrive a clerk will speak to you or the ambulance crew bringing you to hospital. We’ll ask a few questions so that we can provide you with effective treatment and follow up care.

If your relative or friend has been admitted as an emergency

If your family member or friend has been admitted to hospital as an emergency, you can find out what to bring and what to expect when you arrive here.

Safety in our Emergency Departments

Regrettably, our staff are sometimes the subject of inappropriate and threatening behaviour. We have a zero tolerance policy and will prosecute offenders.

Directions to the Emergency Department

The Emergency Department is at the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske in Truro. The Emergency Department is on the right-hand side of the Trelawney Wing but it has its own entrance, so when you arrive at the hospital site, follow the signs for the Emergency Department (which are highlighted in red).

There are a few short stay spaces outside the Emergency Department, and you can drop people off outside, but please don’t stop in the hatched area directly in front or block access for ambulances.

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