AEC - FAQ's for GPs and Staff Referrals

Q.  What is Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC)?

A.  Ambulatory Emergency Care (sometimes called AEC) is a new service which provides same day emergency care to patients at our hospital.  This means that patients are assessed, diagnosed, treated and are able to go home the same day, without being admitted into hospital overnight. 

Who can refer a patient?

Patients can be referred to AEC by the Emergency Department (ED) at any stage during their ED journey. They can also be referred to AEC from community sources, these include General Practitioners (GPs), Minor Injury Units, South Western Ambulance Service Paramedics and the Home IV Therapy Team. Patients can also be referred from any ward, to reduce a patient’s length of stay

How do I refer a patient?

For patients who are within Gloucester Royal Hospital (GRH) and Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH), referrers can telephone the units during the service opening hours.

GRH: 0300 422 6677

CGH: 0300 422 3618


Outside of these opening hours, then the patient can be referred following the condition-specific pathway.

For patients who are in the community – all referrals are made via the Single Point of Clinical Access (SPCA)

SPCA telephone number for GP’s is 0300 421 0300. Hours of business: 0800 – 2200 Monday to Friday. 0900 – 1700 Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

What are the AEC service opening times?

The Unit at GRH is open seven days a week (including Bank Holidays), from 8am until 6pm. The last time for a patient to arrive is 4pm, this is to allow the AEC team time to assess, investigate, diagnose and initiate treatment/develop a treatment plan for the patient.
The CGH Unit can be contacted Mon to Fri 8am - 6pm, last patient arrival by 4pm.

What patients can be referred in-hours?

During the unit opening hours, any patient that it is felt could be managed with same day or multiple attendances that would normally require admission. If you have a patient that you feel is potentially suitable for AEC, please telephone the team

What patients can be referred outside of AEC opening hours?

Patients who present with the following conditions or potential conditions can be referred via the specific condition pathway:

Possible Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

Lower Limb Cellulitis

Atrial Fibrillation

Community Acquired Pneumonia

Possible Renal Colic

Pleural Effusion

Possible Upper Limb Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

Please feel free to email the AEC team on the address below, the team will answer your question as soon as they are able but please be aware depending on service demands this make take us a few days:


Who actually sees the patient?

Patients in AEC are either seen initially by the Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) or the AEC doctor. Depending on clinical condition, patients are then either discharged, discussed with or seen by the on-call Acute Medical Consultant. Patients are referred from AEC to specialist teams as required. 


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AEC for patients