Emergency department (ED or A&E)

Our Emergency Departments (also known as Accident and Emergency or A&E) help people who show signs of serious illness or are badly injured. People come to us via ambulance or by booking in at reception.

Our team of doctors, nurses and healthcare staff will help you in an emergency. Please think carefully before coming straight to the Emergency Department. Our increasingly busy service should be used only in serious or life-threatening situations.

We have two Emergency Departments at the Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Trust, both designated trauma units. Our ED in Exeter treats approximately 90,000 adult and paediatric patients per year, and our Barnstaple unit cares for 50,000 patients per year.

Where to find help

There are a range of other primary care and urgent care services available which might be better suited to your needs, including minor injuries units (MIUs) and walk-in centres (WIC).

If you are not sure which service is best for you, please call 111 for guidance or visit 111.nhs.uk.

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

Our Emergency Department (also known as Accident and Emergency or A&E) helps people who show signs of serious illness or are badly injured.

People come to us via ambulance or by booking in at reception.

Our increasingly busy service should be used only in serious or life-threatening situations.

Where to find us

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) 

Barrack Road
Exeter
EX2 5DW

Please note: A major transformation of the ED at the RD&E Hospital at Wonford is under way.

A temporary entrance for patients attending ED is through the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre (PEOC) entrance, where additional waiting and short-term parking facilities are also be provided.

Wonford ED temporary entrance map

You can phone 111 for help or call the main hospital number on 01392 411611.

You can also contact the Boots Pharmacy (based in the hospital) on 01392 435980.

North Devon District Hospital

North Devon District Hospital
Raleigh Park
Barnstaple
Devon
EX31 4JB

View live waiting times 

The department can be contacted by telephoning 01271 322 577 and asking for the Emergency Department. We cannot give healthcare advice over the telephone.

Other local urgent care services

In addition to Emergency departments, other services are available across Devon for the treatment of less severe illnesses or injuries.

Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) provide treatment for less serious injuries, such as broken bones, sprains and wounds. If your injury is not serious, it’s usually better for you to go to a MIU if there is one in your local area. 

Devon Doctors is the out-of-hours GP service for Devon. They are open from 18:00 until 08:00. They see patients who can best be cared for by a GP. They can be contacted via NHS 111 by telephoning 111.

More about our service

Our main role is to provide emergency care for people with a range of serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • severally confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma, such as a road traffic accident

Like all NHS Emergency Departments, we aim to see, treat and discharge or admit all patients within 4 hours of arrival to our department.

 

Get the care you need

Please think carefully and 'choose well' before coming to the Emergency Department. Choosing a primary care service, walk-in centre or a minor injuries unit for non-life threatening conditions will ensure you receive the best possible treatment in the quickest time, leaving our Emergency Department to help those who need us most.

 

What happens when I arrive at the department?

On arrival, you will be triaged by a member of our team. Triage ensures people with the most serious conditions are seen first.

We treat all patients in the order of their clinical priority, not by the time of arrival to the department. This means that a patient who arrives after you may be seen before you if their condition is more urgent. Arriving by ambulance does not necessarily mean you will be seen sooner than if you had walked into the department.

There will be delays if the emergency department is exceptionally busy, either because of the sheer volume of patients coming in or because staff are dealing with someone who is very unwell. When this happens, we will endeavour to explain the situation to patients in the waiting area.

What happens next depends on the results of your assessment. Sometimes further tests need to be arranged before a course of action can be decided.

It may be that the Emergency Department is not the best place to care for you. In this case, the triage nurse will direct you to the appropriate service. Examples of services which the triage nurse may direct you to are:

  • Your own GP
  • A local GP who will register holidaymakers as a temporary resident
  • The GP out of hours service
  • Liaison or on-call psychiatry
  • Ophthalmology outpatients

Covid-19 information

For the latest guidance on visiting, mask-wearing and restrictions, please visit our dedicated Covid-19 information pages. 

Meet our team

We cover the department 24/7, 365 days of the year.

The team is made up of a number of different health professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, emergency nurse practitioners, and advanced clinical practitioners. The clinical team is supported by a team of administrative staff.

Patients and visitors to the department will notice nursing and medical staff wearing different colour uniforms. 

Patient Information Leaflets - Northern Services

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Last updated: November 28, 2022