Coming to A&E


We understand that people may be feeling anxious about attending our emergency departments at the moment and do not want to contribute to the current pressures on the NHS. However, we want to remind people that both departments are still open at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.

If you, or anyone you live with, has any symptoms of a serious illness or injury such as a heart attack, stroke or severe bleeding please call 999 or attend the Emergency Department.

Patients cannot be accompanied, unless they are a child, vulnerable adult or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances.

At East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), we have adopted a new streaming approach for patients attending with suspected or confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) at both Colchester and Ipswich hospitals. The process differs slightly for each hospital, but we have separated the pathways for patients who attend into red and green pathways.

As part of this process, both our Emergency Departments on the Ipswich and Colchester sites have been split into two areas, too. A red zone for suspected Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients and a green zone for non-suspected Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

You should still attend A&E via the usual front door. At Colchester Hospital this is the Urgent Treatment Centre at the front of the main building, and at Ipswich Hospital it is the Garrett Anderson Centre entrance.

When you arrive at the Emergency Department you will be triaged in the usual way – regardless of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and then be told where is best to go.

Visiting our Emergency Departments (A&E)

  • Due to the need to maintain social distancing we are unfortunately still not able to allow visitors to accompany patients in our waiting rooms, unless the patient is a child, a vulnerable adult, or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances, in which case one adult may accompany the patient – providing the patient and accompanying adult are free of Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • Patients who are in our majors and resuscitation areas only may be accompanied by one close family contact, or somebody important to them (ideally from the same household or support bubble) within the A&E department – providing the patient and accompanying adult are free of Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • Visitors may not accompany the patient to other departments, for example x-ray. They must remain within the area of A&E they are in, until the patient is admitted or discharged, and not wander around the hospital building. If the patient is admitted, visitors will be kindly asked to leave at that point and book a ward visit – see our general ward visiting guidance.

Colchester and Ipswich hospitals’ Emergency Departments and the urgent treatment centre at Colchester Hospital remain open to patients who need urgent and emergency help. If you have a health concern that’s not an emergency, but you’re thinking about coming to A&E call NHS 111 first.


Back to top
Translate »