Emergency Medicine deals with the diagnosis and treatment of acute illnesses or injuries which require immediate, or urgent medical attention – it is not able to provide care for chronic problems, or to provide second opinions. Emergency Medicine is key in the planning and preparation when dealing with major disasters and incidents.
The accident and emergency (A&E) department at Bedford Hospital is located at the Ampthill Road entrance to the south wing site. It is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides a service for patients who are brought in by ambulance, or who have self-referred.
The department serves a catchment area with a population of 271,000 people from north and mid Bedfordshire. Bedford Hospital also provides the vascular surgery service for the whole of Bedfordshire which means that patients from Luton and Dunstable University Hospital will be transferred to Bedford for emergency or urgent vascular surgery.
You can contact A&E department through the main switchboard on 01234 355 122.
When should you use the Accident and Emergency department?
The A&E department is for patients who are acutely ill, or are experiencing a life-threatening or limb-threatening problems who have either self-referred (come in themselves) or been brought in by ambulance.
Medical emergencies: dial 999 or come into A&E.
Non-urgent medical assistance: contact your GP, pharmacist or call NHS 111
What to expect when you arrive in the A&E department
When you arrive in the A&E department you will need to register with the receptionist who will take your personal details and basic information about your injury or illness. Bedford Hospital operates a “see and treat” model of care. This means that patients, under normal circumstances, will be seen in arrival order.
An assessment nurse will carry out a brief assessment to ensure that patients do not have life or limb threatening conditions. If the assessment nurse has concerns over a patient’s condition, the patient will either be allocated to a different area of the department, or brought forward in the queue.
There are hot and cold drinks machines located in the A&E waiting room, and snack machines in the main corridor for patients.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the waiting time is kept to a minimum, should an emergency arise the waiting time will inevitably increase. The assessment nurse will keep the waiting room informed of any change in waiting times.
Bedford Hospital A&E department has to meet national targets for emergency access. This means that 98% of all patients attending A&E must be seen, treated and discharged or admitted within four hours of arrival in the department.
Folwell ward is a six bed short stay observation ward situated in the accident and emergency department. The ward is staffed by A&E nurses and the majority of patients will remain under the care of an A&E consultant. The ward cares for patients who require a 24 hour observation period following a head injury, overdose or other minor injury or procedure and patients who are awaiting an inpatient bed or specialist review.
Visiting hours on Folwell ward are between 8am and 8pm, however please consider the need for patients to rest when deciding to visit the ward.
Folwell ward can be contacted via the hospital automated switchboard on 01234 355122, ext. 5208.
Acute Assessment Unit
Patients who require further assessment will be transferred to the Acute Assessment Unit at Bedford Hospital.
The Luton and Dunstable University Hospital’s Emergency Department operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides a comprehensive emergency service for Luton, South Bedfordshire and parts of Hertfordshire – a total population of almost 400,000.
Our ED is one of the busiest in the region, in 2017 we saw more than 80,000 patients, a further 35,000 patients were seen by an ‘Urgent GP’ service, which is located on site.
The ED is divided into four areas:
For the most sick and severely injured patients (usually arriving by ambulance), highly equipped and allows advanced management of patients.
For the majority of sick patients and provides a trolley based area for examinations and treatment.
See & Treat
For minor injuries and illnesses, and is staffed primarily by our Nurse Practitioners.
In 2012 we saw and treated almost 18,000 children. We now have a facility, the Paediatric Emergency Department is staffed by children’s nurses.
Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU)
Our EAU is located adjacent to the ED and offers modern and comfortable facilities for the arrival of sick patients, referred as emergencies by their GPs.
Located within the EAU are facilities for the rapid assessment and management of patients with ambulatory conditions. This means that patients can be started on a treatment pathway and allowed to go home quickly for continued care.
The EAU is also a reception area for further assessment of patients who have been seen initially within the ED. It is staffed 24 hours a day by experienced medical and nursing staff, including three dedicated Acute Care Physicians, who also provide Consultant cover to the Medical Short stay unit and Ambulatory Care Centre.