Skip to main content

This site is best viewed with a modern browser. You appear to be using an old version of Internet Explorer.

Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU)

Patients are referred to the Emergency Assessment Unit by their GP, or by a doctor in the Emergency Department, for a specialist medical opinion on their condition.

The unit is often very busy with large numbers of people passing through and waiting to be seen, so it can be somewhat overwhelming.

What happens in EAU

On arrival we will show you to a trolley bed or a chair in the waiting area.

A nurse will make an initial assessment. They will ask you about your general health and perform some routine tests including:

  • blood pressure, pulse, temperature
  • electrocardiogram (ECG).
    This painless test takes a few minutes: you will lie on a bed and have wires attached to your limbs and chest with sticky pads. (You will need to remove some clothing.)
  • finger prick test for blood sugar
  • urine or faeces test.

We may take some blood samples using a needle in your arm.

A doctor will then see you and ask you questions about your health and symptoms. They will examine you and order any tests that are necessary. At this point they may be able to tell you if you will need to stay in hospital. However, they may want you to be seen by a consultant first.

During very busy times you may have to wait for more than four hours if your condition is not immediately life-threatening. This does not mean that you have been forgotten, or that you are not important to us.

If you are able to go home, but need new tablets, these will be dispensed by the hospital pharmacy, which takes about four hours.

Staying in hospital

A nurse will look after you: please ask them any questions about your treatment.

Do not be afraid to ask questions when the consultant is with you; it is a good opportunity. It can be helpful to make notes of questions you want to ask, if you think you will forget when you see the consultant.

If you remain in hospital for more than a day, a member of your consultant's team will see you each week day.

Staying in / leaving hospital

Telephone enquiries from family and friends

Please nominate one person only to call us on behalf of all your family and friends.

Nurses will give general information by telephone but will not give out details about your diagnosis.

Food and drink

You will be asked to fill out a menu: special diets such as diabetic and halal are available, so please ask a member of staff if you require these. If you miss your meal, snacks are available. Chilled water is available from the water dispenser.


It is best not to bring items of value into hospital. Please place any items into a well-labelled bag. The Trust does not accept liability for any items brought into the hospital other than those stored in the hospital safe.

Find us and contact us

The Emergency Assessment Unit is on Level 1 of the John Radcliffe Hospital, close to the Emergency Department.


Please see Visitor FAQs

If you have any comments about your visit to EAU please tell a member of staff.

If you have concerns that our staff cannot resolve, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

Last reviewed:17 August 2023