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What you should know about Emergency Departments

Emergency Departments (ED) provide life-saving care when required, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. EDs look after people who have emergency medical problems, injuries or psychological issues, whatever the cause may be. You may recognise and be familiar with the term Casualty Department or Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department; however the correct term for our departments has been Emergency Department since October 2000.

There are 29 Emergency Departments on 28 hospital sites in Ireland. For a profile of each department, please click here.

EDs are staffed by teams of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who work together to identify and treat patients' emergency health problems. Once a patient receives the emergency care they need, the next steps in their care are planned. Some patients need to be admitted to hospital; most can be cared for by their General Practitioner (GP) or followed up at a hospital out patient clinic. It can be difficult for people to know whether to go to their local ED, phone for an ambulance or contact their GP or other services. If you, or a family member, think you need emergency care, you can come immediately to the ED.

This video from the  Royal College of Emergency Medicine in the UK explains many of the challenges faced by patients and staff in UK Emergency Departments (where the term 'A&E' is still used by many). While the details may appear to be UK specific, the concepts and issues are broadly similar in Ireland.

Information:     If you think the medical condition is, or may become, life-threatening, phone the Ambulance Service on 999 or 112. 

Symptoms that are serious for a child may not be as serious for an adult.

Always get immediate medical attention if you think a child is having a medical emergency.

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