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A&E (Emergency Unit)

The way you access the Emergency Unit has changed. If it is not life or limb threatening you must call 111 where you will be triaged and given an appointment slot, if appropriate.

The Emergency Unit assesses, treats and resuscitates patients who have been injured or are severely ill by appropriately trained and experienced staff, and refers patients as needed. 



If you need to access the Emergency Unit and it’s not life or limb threatening, then you must Phone First. By calling 111 a call handler will take the call and make an initial assessment. You will get a call back from a clinician within 20 minutes if urgent or 1 hour if less urgent. If needed, you will be given an appointment within the Emergency Unit, an Urgent Care Centre, or other appropriate healthcare facility. 

It is important to note that this does not replace the use of 999 if it is life threatening.

What we offer and who should attend?

Our service is available 24 hours a day to adults, children and babies. Patients who present with the following conditions would be included in our core service. If it not life or limb threatening please call 111 where you will be given an appropriate time slot:

  • Trauma, usually within two days of injury
  • Pain, unrelieved by simple painkillers
  • Sudden or serious deterioration in someone's condition 
  • Respiratory distress
  • Change in mental status, including alteration of consciousness and acute confusional states
  • Patients brought to hospital by the police
  • Patients brought to hospital by emergency ambulance
  • Patients appropriately referred by any other health care professional 

In addition, we may review patients for reassessment and follow-up.


The Emergency Unit is not intended to provide care usually delivered at your GP surgery. Patients outside the broad definitions (above) should initially seek help from their GP or another healthcare service such as your community pharmacy. In particular, the Emergency Unit does not expect to provide assessment of non-acute problems or to offer routine second opinions.  Patients who do attend with such conditions will be redirected to the most appropriate source of health care.

When can I attend the Emergency Unit?
The Emergency Unit is open continuously 24 hours a day every day of the year. If it is not life or limb threatening you will need to call 111 and you will be triaged by a trained clinician who will book an appointment slot if needed.

This is to help with social distance in line with COVID 19 and to manage overcrowding within the EU so we can manage and treat patients safely.

Where is the Emergency Unit?
The Emergency Unit is on the lower ground floor of the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, CF14 4XW.

How can I get advice about my condition?

If you would just like advice about a health problem you should not ring the Emergency Unit.  You should speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

Other information

If you are responsible for small children or babies, it would minimise distress to the child and disruption to the department if you could arrange for someone else to look after the baby at home while you attend the Emergency Unit (whether as a patient yourself or accompanying a friend or relative).

Please note that the Emergency Unit has a zero tolerance policy on violence and aggressive behaviour.

What happens when you arrive at the Emergency Unit?


Patients will now be expected to call 111 to book an appointment slot if it is not life or limb threatening. When you arrive, you will be met by the COVID Screening Nurse. Your temperature will be taken and you will be asked a few short COVID screening questions before being allowed into the unit. This is to protect our staff and patients.

Patients will then register their details at reception and will be triaged by a nurse.  

If you self present at the Emergency Unit, you will be met by the COVID screening Nurse. Your temperature will be taken and you will be asked a few short COVID screening questions. You will also be asked if you have phoned first and have been given a time slot in which to arrive.

Please note, that if you have not phoned first and do not require immediate treatment then you will be asked to ring 111 and, if appropriate, given a timeslot in which to attend.

Patients will be seen in either our majors or minors areas depending on your condition. The most acutely unwell will be cared for in our resuscitation area.


This may be by a doctor, nurse practitioner, physiotherapist or pharmacist.  Sometimes you may be asked if you would agree to be seen by a medical student.  It will not affect your treatment if you say no.

Patient assessment may involve physical examination and investigations including blood tests, ECGs and X-rays.  The aim is to establish a diagnosis and decide on the best treatment for you.


If you are discharged from the department, you may be prescribed treatment or otherwise advised how to manage your condition.  You may also be asked to return to the department, go to another clinic for further review, or to visit your GP.  Occasionally we need to recall patients by phone if a review of their notes or X-rays indicates that further treatment might be needed.

If you need hospital admission your treatment will ideally begin while in the Emergency Unit, and transferred as soon as possible to an inpatient bed.



If you would like more information on when it's appropriate to attend the Emergency Unit or for a general guide to emergency care within Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, please download our Unscheduled Care leaflet.   

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