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Surgical Emergency Unit (SEU)

The Surgical Emergency Unit is a special unit in the John Radcliffe Hospital for the care of surgical emergency patients.

Instead of having to wait in the hospital's Emergency Department, patients who may need emergency surgery are referred directly to the unit by their GP.

When you first arrive in the unit you will be seen by a nurse who will assess your needs. This process is called 'triage'. You will then be seen by a doctor.

We will do our very best to ensure that you are seen and treated as quickly as possible, but you may have to wait a while for the doctor to see you. Unless you have permission from the nurse or doctor, please do not eat or drink during this time: if you do it could have an effect on our ability to treat you.

After the doctor sees you, you may be asked to stay for further assessment or tests. You may then either be allowed home or admitted to the ward area of the unit. If you are admitted, we may later move you to another, more suitable ward or unit in the Trust. This is so that other emergency patients can be admitted.

There are both female and male ward areas.

Visiting and staying in hospital

Please see Visitor FAQs.

Unfortunately, we have to ask that people do not bring flowers into the unit: this is due both to limited space and to a possible risk of infection.


Meals are provided for patients. There are restaurants and other facilities for friends and relatives.

Shops, cafes and other facilities

Religious needs

If you would like a member of the Chaplaincy team to visit you, please tell your nurse. Your own priest or minister is also welcome to visit you. Your cultural and religious beliefs will always be respected whilst you are in hospital.



Please give any valuables to your family to take home, or to the nurse who is looking after you; the Trust is not responsible for any items lost or stolen if they have not been handed in for safekeeping.


Please give any medication that you have brought with you into hospital to your nurse. It will be returned to you when you leave. It will be dispensed in a re-usable green plastic bag.

Tablets to take out (TTOs)

These can take up to four hours to dispense, so before arranging transport home, check with your nurse when they are likely to be ready.

Going home

Leaving hospital

Thrombo Embolus Deterrent stockings (TEDs)

You will be asked to wear TED stockings on admission to the Unit. TED stockings are designed to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is the development of blood clots in the legs.

Blood clots can cause problems with circulation in the legs, or become dislodged into the general blood stream, which may lead to complications in the heart, lungs and brain. Patients are at increased risk of this while in hospital, as increased pain or surgery may make them less mobile than usual.

You will need to wear them for the duration of your stay in hospital. They will be changed every three days. Obviously they need to be temporarily removed for bathing.

We encourage patients to put them on and take them off themselves, but if you are unable to, please ask your nurse to help you.

You will not be forced to wear them, however, they have been proven to be of great benefit in reducing the amount of patients developing DVT in their legs. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask your nurse.

For information on blood clots and how to reduce the risk, download the app 'Let's Talk Clots'.

Find us and contact us

Surgical Emergency Unit
Level 6, John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Oxford OX3 9DU

From the lift lobby follow the signs for SEU.

How to find the John Radcliffe Hospital

Telephone enquiries

Nurses are very busy in the mornings, with ward rounds and patient care.

Please nominate one family member / friend to telephone the ward after 10.30am for information, and pass this on to others.

This allows nurses to spend as much time as possible caring for patients.

Telephone numbers

  • SEUD (Assessment area): 01865 221821 / 221822
  • SEUE: 01865 857950 / 857951
  • SEUF: 01865 221840 / 221841

Senior staff


Vanessa Linton:


  • SEUD - Natasha Walker
  • SEUE - Laura Gosson
  • SEUF - Cleo Rosales
  • Triage and Ambulatory - Emma Berry
Last reviewed:12 April 2024