Coming to A&E and Urgent Treatment Centres


Colchester and Ipswich hospitals’ A&E departments and the Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) at Colchester Hospital remain open to patients who need urgent and emergency help.

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, call 999 or attend A&E.

If you have a health concern that’s not an emergency, but you’re thinking about coming to A&E, call NHS 111 first.

At East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), we continue to run a streaming process for patients attending with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 at both Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.

As part of this process, both our Emergency Departments on the Ipswich and Colchester sites have been split into two areas. A red zone for suspected COVID-19 patients and a green zone for non-suspected 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 COVID-19 and then you’ll be told where is best to go.

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not accompany patients in our hospitals.

Coming to A&E (Accident & Emergency department)

  • 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 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 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 within the A&E department – providing the patient and accompanying adult are free of 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.
  • Carer responsibilities are supported across the Trust. Specific visiting guidance is here for carers.

Help us stop the spread

ESNEFT is asking everyone to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by:

  • Washing and sanitising your hands regularly, especially before and after your visit
  • Wearing a surgical face mask covering your nose and mouth at all times
  • Following social distancing guidance
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