Welcome to the Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU)

Patient Leaflets Team

  • Reference Number: HEY-459/2017
  • Departments: Ambulatory Care

This guide gives an overview about how the service works in six simple steps.  Please be aware that your journey through the ACU may vary slightly.

What is ambulatory care?

Ambulatory Care is a service which offers same day emergency care to patients at the hospital.  This means that patients are assessed, diagnosed, treated and are able to go home the same day, without being admitted into a hospital bed overnight wherever possible.

Before you arrive

You will have been referred to the ACU by your GP or by the Emergency Department Team.

Arrival at ACU

You will be greeted by a member of staff in the ACU waiting area.  Where possible refreshments are provided for patients at intervals during the day.  Alternatively you may wish to use the cafeteria in the front entrance of the hospital (just let a member of staff from the ACU area know you are going to the cafeteria).

Initial Assessment

A member of staff will carry out an initial assessment where they will discuss with you why you have been referred to the ACU, your care pathway and take some observations (blood pressure/temperature).


You will need to wait while staff carry out investigations such as X-rays, tests, blood tests and scans (this can take between 4-6 hours to complete).


Once your results are back for all the tests that have been carried out these will be discussed with you, along with any treatment plan that may be required.

Treatment will be commenced in the ACU where possible and information regarding this will be given to you.  Your GP will receive a clinic letter regarding your attendance and the treatment and care you received whilst in ACU.

Next steps and contact details

Once your care in the ACU is complete you can usually go home; however, on some occasions, you may need to stay in hospital for inpatient care.  The staff will discuss with you the next steps for your treatment, review or follow up if required.

On occasion you may be asked to come back to the ACU the following day for further tests or treatment.  This will be discussed and agreed with you.

If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to discuss please do not hesitate to speak to the member of staff caring for you at any time during your journey through the ACU.  We are always happy to answer your questions or discuss any concerns that you may have.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you or your carer needs information about your health and well-being and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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