Ambulatory Emergency Care takes the pressure off

Our Trust is launching the second phase of a new service which will see patients offered access to same day acute medical care in dedicated facilities.

Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) is a national initiative designed to improve care for patients while reducing admissions and taking some pressure off Emergency Departments (EDs).


The AEC unit at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital has been operating successfully since late September 2013 and sees patients assessed, diagnosed, treated and discharged home the same day without the need for overnight admission.


The development of AEC is a key aspect of our acute medical strategy, as it is proven to provide a better patient experience. These units give patients more suitable, rapid care as well as relieving pressure on the EDs, allowing them to focus on seriously ill patients in need of admission to hospital. The opening of the Cheltenham General AEC is expected in the near future.


Patients can be referred through our EDs or via their GPs who can make direct referrals (patients cannot self-refer). When patients are referred to the units, they may have to wait while doctors or senior nursing staff arrange investigations such as x-rays, blood tests and/or scans. Once the results from the tests are known, staff create a treatment plan which usually begins on the unit. 


Previously, many patients who were referred to hospital by their GPs or via our EDs were admitted to wards overnight to await tests scheduled for the following day. With this new initiative, many patients are able to stay at home and come in the following day. Another key benefit is that once care in AEC is complete, patients can go home with a plan for the next steps of their treatment, either in hospital or in the community.


Further information about AEC is available on our website


AEC unit is open between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

The AEC at GRH is based on the ground floor of Gallery Wing, adjacent to the Tower Block.