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Ambulatory Assessment Unit (AAU)

Information alert box This Unit has been featured in a BBC Panorama programme

Watch Alison Holt report from the OUH Ambulatory Assessment Unit.

Panorama - The NHS Crisis: Can It Be Fixed? - BBC iPlayer - 1 minute 10 seconds in.

The Ambulatory Assessment Unit provides medical assessment, treatment and care for patients without the need for hospital admission.

Our team includes doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

What to expect

The average time our patients spend with us is five to seven hours. Patients who need further investigations, treatments or medications may stay longer, so we recommend you allow seven hours for your visit.

Unfortunately we cannot accommodate visitors in the unit.

When you arrive, please check in at Reception and then take a seat in our waiting room. A nurse or nursing assistant will call you. Please tell them if you are due to take any medications urgently.

We will carry out some routine tests, such as blood tests, blood pressure (BP), temperature, pulse and a heart tracing (ECG). You will then see a doctor who will decide if you need any additional tests.

Once all your test results are back, your doctor will see you again to discuss the results and any treatment you need. Whenever possible we will start treatment on the day.

A named nurse and doctor, and a senior consultant doctor, will oversee your care while you are with us. We may need to take you to other areas within the unit, or other areas within the hospital for scans.

If we do need to admit you to hospital, we will discuss this with you as soon as possible, so that you can make arrangements.


Unless your nurse asks you not to, please feel free to eat and drink. Help yourself to tea, coffee, biscuits or fruit.

We can offer sandwiches and snacks during the day, and also hot meals. Please ask your nurse or nursing assistant for a menu, and tell us if you have any special requirements.

It may be possible to visit a hospital shop or café while you wait for test results or medicines to be dispensed - please ask your nurse.


We may prescribe medicines for you to take home with you. The doctor, nurse or pharmacist will explain what they are, and how to take them.

You may have to wait a while for the medicines to be dispensed, especially at the end of the day. We aim to dispense medicines within 90 minutes, but this is not always possible. If you do have to wait, please bear with us.


We offer free WiFi: OUH-Guest, and you may use your mobile phone. If you need to use our telephone, please ask Reception.


If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, please speak to your named nurse or doctor, or any member of our team.

After your visit you will receive a text message Friends and Family Test questionnaire. Please let us know your views - your views are valuable to us and help us improve our service.

Contact us

Level 4, John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Oxford OX3 9DU

John Radcliffe Hospital A4 travel sheet (pdf)

From the Level 2 main entrance of the John Radcliffe Hospital, please walk along the main corridor to the lift lobby and take a lift to Level 4 (or walk up two flights of stairs). Once on Level 4, please follow the signs.

Tel: 01865 221812 / 221814
Open daily 8.00am - 11.00pm

For medical reviews and advice:
Monday to Friday 8.00am - 9.00pm
Weekends 9.00am - 7.00pm

Resources for staff

'Think Frailty'

Our unit has the dual functional of being an ambulatory unit, and a frailty unit.

To support new staff working on the unit, the 'Think Frailty' poster was designed as a teaching tool, to help staff to identify frailty and therapy amenable problems, and make them aware of the services and pathways available to support patients to live well with frailty after a hospital attendance:

'Think Frailty' poster (pdf, 277 KB)

This poster is best viewed on a large screen rather than a mobile phone.

Last reviewed:30 November 2023