Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit (EAU)

Emergency Ambulatory Care (EAU) provides same day care to patients via assessment, diagnosis and treatment with the aim of getting patients home the same day, without having to be admitted to hospital overnight.

The Unit is purpose built equipped with a range of recliner chairs, examination trollies/cubicles and procedure rooms. The Unit is open 7.30 am until 19.30 pm 7 days a week.

How does the Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit work?

1. Before you arrive

You may have been referred to the Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit by your GP, Emergency Department, Discharging Ward, Ambulance or some other route.

Please be aware that Emergency Ambulatory Care runs on a first come first served policy we do not allocate set appointment times

2. Arrive at EAU

You will be greeted by a member of the Nursing team who will introduce themselves and give you an indication of how long you will be with us on the Unit.

Patients attending EAU will be required to wait in a seated waiting area and must be self-caring for activities of daily living (or be accompanied by someone who can support with this).

3. Initial Assessment

A Senior Nurse, Doctor or Acute Nurse Consultant will undertake a initial assessment, this will be to discuss your symptoms and obtain a history of your illness.


As part of your assessment investigations such as xrays, blood tests and scans may be ordered prior to a plan of treatment being discussed with the Doctor.

Please be aware that this may take time to process, staff will keep you updated you may be offered to use our new buzzer system to allow you to go off and have a drink while you wait.

5. Next steps

Once your care in EAU is complete you can go home. The staff will inform you of the next steps of your treatment plan before you leave, which may include returning to the Unit for further treatment or review.

If you have any questions or concerns after you have left the Unit please call us to discuss during opening times if not please contact your GP.

Our services

The pathways currently in place within Emergency Ambulatory Care are:

  • Asthma
  • Anaemia
  • Bronchiectasis
  • COPD
  • Community Acquired Pneumonia
  • Cellulitis
  • Chest Pain
  • DVT
  • First Seizure
  • Headache
  • Low Risk Upper GI Bleed
  • Lower Respiratory Tract Infection
  • New Onset Diabetes
  • Painless obstructive Jaundice
  • Pleural Effusion
  • PE (Pulmonary Embolus)

In addition to the Urgent Care pathways listed above, the Ambulatory Care Unit at Canterbury provides a large booked elective servicefor patients attending for blood transfusions and various planned infusions. We also provide procedures such as lumbar punctures, Ascetic drains and CT guided biopsies.

The Margate and Canterbury units also provide Tilt table studies for patients who suffer from syncope and blackouts.


Facilities for Ambulatory Care are located at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and William Harvey Hospitals and have dedicated units, with close links to the Emergency Floor.  

The units each contain a bedded area for those patients that require the use of a hospital bed due to clinical need whilst undergoing their treatment, and specially designed recliner type chairs.  The areas are comfortable and laid out in such a way to create a relaxing atmosphere, with access to a television.

Refreshments such as tea and coffee are given to patients and sometimes light snacks are provided depending on how long the course of treatment takes.

All units have access to toilets which include facilities for disabled patients. 

You will also have access to a range of staff which will include medical, nursing and therapists as required.

Getting to our hospitals

For information of getting to our hospitals by car, public transport or NHS transport, plus details of car parking availability - please see the link below:

Kent & Canterbury Hospital

The Ambulatory Care Unit is located in the 1937 building next to the main entrance.

William Harvey Hospital

The Ambulatory Care Unit is located via the main entrance towards A&E.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital

The Ambulatory Care Unit is located at the Ramsgate Road entrance.

Find your way around our hospitals

Click the links below to view and download maps of our hospitals:

Contact us

William Harvey Hospital Ambulatory Care 

Tel: 01233 651841

Kent and Canterbury Hospital 

Tel: 01227 783170 

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital Margate 

Tel: 01843 225544

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there anything I can do before I come into Hospital to improve my recovery time?  

If you have recently seen another doctor or nurse regarding your current medical issue you should follow their advice until seen and assessed in the Ambulatory Assessment Unit. 

Will I have to stay in Hospital? 

Ambulatory Care provides day case and urgent outpatient care. If assessment in the Ambulatory Unit shows that overnight admission is required you will be transferred to an inpatient ward for ongoing care. 

What will happen when I arrive at hospital? 

On arrival you will have an initial assessment within 20 minutes by a nurse or an ambulatory care doctor. You may have a range of investigations or treatments dependant on your condition.  The ultimate aim of these is to allow you to return home safely that day.  

We strive to deliver a safe, compassionate and reliable service which maintains your privacy and dignity at all times. 

Who will perform the procedure? 

Blood tests and insertion of drip lines will be performed by our experienced nursing staff.  More invasive procedures, for example chest drains, will be performed by the doctor looking after you or a member of their team. 

Will additional procedures be necessary? 

Depending on the underlying medial problem various procedures may be required.  These will be discussed with you in detail beforehand by members of the medical and nursing team. 

How long will I be in hospital? 

This will depend on whether or not you have further investigations. Estimated attendance time is between 1 and 8 hours.  You may have to return the following day for further treatment or review by the doctor or nurse.