Unscheduled Care

What is Unscheduled Care?

Unscheduled Care is the term used to describe health and social care services that are accessible without prior arrangement, for patients who require an unplanned health and/or social care intervention.

Within this body of care sits the Emergency Department (ED); a specialist hospital unit designed to assess and treat patients with serious injury or illness.

In the South Eastern Trust, emergency care services are provided across 3 sites:

Ulster Hospital Dundonald

Lagan Valley Hospital

Downe Hospital

The Emergency Department in the Ulster Hospital is Consultant led and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with EDs in Downe and Lagan Valley open Monday to Friday. We also provide a nurse led minor injuries service in Ards and Bangor Hospitals.

Please use the links above for more information on each site.

What happens at the Emergency Department?

Once you arrive at the Emergency Department, please give your details to a receptionist. Within a short time, a nurse will triage you to assess the nature of your injury/complaint and determine how urgent it is. It is essential that this system is in place to ensure that patients are seen in order of clinical need, rather than in time of attendance.

You may have to wait a short time before you are seen by the doctor. This will depend on how busy the Department is and how serious the other patients’ conditions are.

As well as timely care, our aim is to ensure that services are safe, of a high quality and improve the outcomes for all of our patients.

What are the 4 and 12 hour targets?

Emergency departments throughout the UK are monitored in line with two overarching Ministerial targets to ensure patients are seen and treated as quickly as possible.

The 4 hour target - the South Eastern Trust aims to ensure that as many as possible of its emergency care patients are seen, treated and either admitted or discharged within four hours of their arrival in the department. The national target is 95%.

The 12 hour target - the South Eastern Trust aims to ensure that none of its emergency care patients wait longer than 12 hours to be seen, treated and either admitted or discharged.

Coming soon: more information on Unscheduled Care activity and waiting times in the South Eastern Trust