Emergency Department

The Emergency Department (ED) provides 24 hour, 365 day care to all age groups of patients with any urgent illness or injury. Our ED has a fully equipped resuscitation area, cubicles and consultation rooms, a large waiting area and an x-ray room.

Is it an emergency?

If you’re in a life-threatening or serious situation you may need to call 999 for an ambulance or, if it is safe for you to do so, visit the Emergency Department at Harrogate District Hospital independently. Examples of emergency situations are:

  • Severe chest pains
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Heavy bleeding or deep wounds
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Serious head injury
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Suspected broken bones or dislocation
  • Overdose or poisoning
  • If a person has numbness or weakness down one side and/or has problems understanding what you are saying or has new problems with their speech

ED is a busy department, so please consider whether or not your injury or illness requires urgent care before attending. This ensures that we can spend our time treating those who really need our help. Other options for treatment include the GP Out of Hours Service and our Minor Injury Units.

Read more about what constitutes an emergency and other available treatment options. If you are unsure whether you need to visit the Emergency Department please telephone NHS 111 – this service will help guide you to the most appropriate healthcare professional for your need.

Attending the Emergency Department

Patients are able to self-present to the Department at any time of night or day, or they may be referred by another healthcare professional such as a GP or district nurse. Approximately one third of patients arrive by emergency ambulance.

When you arrive in the Emergency Department, you will be assessed using a nationally recognised triage process. This helps the team to prioritise the need for emergency care. Patients will be seen by the doctors or nurse practitioners in order of priority.

During the assessment process, initial investigations such as blood tests, X-rays, and tests will be requested and carried out. We will also give first aid treatment, and comfort measures such as pain killers, ice packs, splints and slings will be provided as appropriate.

The majority of patients with minor injuries are likely to be seen and assessed by our emergency nurse practitioners, who have expertise in managing injuries. Doctors will see ill patients and those with more complex or multiple injuries.

Treatments ranging from plasters, bandages, drips and intravenous medications to the resuscitation of severely ill or injured patients take place in ED. The most acutely unwell and injured patients with life or limb-threatening conditions will always take priority, and will often require care from several doctors and nurses at the same time.

We work closely with doctors, nurses and other practitioners from other speciality areas such as surgery, medicine, anaesthetics, mental health and children’s and women’s services. We make routine referrals to these services; sometimes patients will be seen by these speciality teams in the Emergency Department while others may be transferred to wards or departments. Some patients will be offered follow-up appointments with other services.

After being seen by the team, patients may be discharged home, admitted to hospital, or referred to other specialist services, departments and hospitals in the region. A small clinic runs daily in ED for patients who require follow-up care in the Department.

We offer discharge advice and information to patients when they leave the Department. However, patients are always welcome and encouraged to re-attend the Department if their condition deteriorates.

The Emergency Department Team

We have a wide range of staff working in our Emergency Department, all forming a cohesive, multi-disciplinary team. This includes consultants in emergency medicine, experienced emergency nurses, practitioners, support, clerical, portering, domestic and secretarial staff and volunteers. We also offer training opportunities to medical and nursing students and trainee advanced clinical practitioners.


Feedback from patients discharged from the Department is encouraged through the ‘Friends and Family Test’ automated follow-up call system, and on suggestion slips and via letters and emails. All comments are fed back to the team, and suggestions to improve the service are welcomed.

Clinical Quality Indicators

We measure our performance using various clinical quality indicators. You can see how we are performing by going to the Emergency Department performance page.


The Emergency Department proactively fundraises for new equipment and niceties to improve patient care. The waiting room houses a book sale, and we run a number of fundraising projects.

Donations of books are welcome, as are knitted teddies to give to children and ‘twiddlemuffs’ for patients with memory problems. Further information is available in our waiting room.


The Emergency Department is located on the left, adjacent to the main foyer at the front entrance of Harrogate District Hospital.

Key staff

Matron: Stephanie Davis
Department Manager/Charge Nurse: David Haggart
Clerk Co-ordinator: Daniel Ward