Emergency Department (A&E)

Our emergency departments are also often referred to as accident and emergency, A&E or ED.

Both emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for anyone seeking treatment for an urgent problem caused by and accident or illness that requires immediate treatment. The emergency departments can be very busy, in 2022 Taunton saw more than 79,000 patients and Yeovil saw more than 60,000.

Is the Emergency Department the best place for you? We care for patients with serious injuries or life threatening emergencies. If it is not an emergency please telephone 111 who will help direct you to the right service. Many conditions can be more appropriately treated elsewhere. If it is an emergency please call 999.

Examples of conditions appropriate for treatment in an emergency department include:

  • Chest pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Stroke symptoms (sudden onset of weakness or speech difficulties)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Recent minor injuries.

If you attend either emergency departments and your condition is not an emergency, you may be advised to contact your own family doctor or GP, dentist or optician.  The NHSQuicker mobile phone app provides an indication of waiting times in the department however patients with the most urgent healthcare needs will be seen first regardless of the order in which they arrive. If you use emergency services for minor problems you are likely to wait longer and you may delay others with emergencies from being seen quickly.

The emergency departments are both organised with different areas. Patients attending are treated in the most appropriate area depending on why they are attending.

  • Minors- Patients attending with minor illness or injury are seen in this area
  • Majors- The patients with more serious illness and/or injury are treated in this area
  • Resus- The sickest or seriously injured are seen and treated in this area
  • Dedicated Paediatric waiting areas for under 18’s
  • General waiting area with public toilets.

What to expect when attending

Once you have booked in at reception, our staff will call you through to the Triage room for you first assessment, usually within 15 minutes of arrival. The triage nurse will assess you to ensure you are at no immediate risk. Patients will be prioritised depending on how unwell they are. Following this you may be asked to return to the waiting room and will be called back in priority order depending on your condition.

Please be aware that we also run clinics in the Emergency Department so others may arrive after you but be called in before.

Following your first assessment you will be seen in order of priority. Others may go in before you but this does not mean they are ‘jumping the queue’. They may have potentially more serious condition or be attending a clinic appointment.

If you arrive by ambulance, you will be assessed by a member of the nursing team and/or a senior doctor. If your condition is stable you may be asked to wait in the main waiting room.

After you have been triaged, you will be seen by either:

  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • Advanced Clinical Practitioner
  • Doctor- depending on your condition
  • Physicians Associates.