Emergency Department (ED)


Our main role is to provide emergency care for people with a range of serious or life-threatening emergencies, such as:

  • loss of consciousness
  • severally confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma, such as a road traffic accident

More on what we do

Like all NHS Emergency Departments, we aim to see, treat and discharge or admit all patients within 4 hours of arrival to our department.

On arrival, you will be prioritised by our specialist team who are highly trained in all aspects of emergency medicine.

We treat all patients in the order of their clinical priority not by time of arrival to the department. This means that a patient who arrives after you may be seen before you if their condition is more urgent. Arriving by ambulance does not necessarily mean you will be seen sooner than if you had walked in to the department.

There will be delays if the emergency department is exceptionally busy, either because of the sheer volume of patients coming in or because staff are dealing with someone who is very unwell. When this happens, we will explain the situation to patients in the waiting area.

Please note that we cannot accommodate relatives or friends due to social distancing, apart from under a small number of circumstances (a child or vulnerable person etc.). We also ask that you wear a face maskor face covering into our Emergency Department.

Please think carefully and 'choose well' before coming to the Emergency Department. Choosing a walk-in centre or a minor injuries unit for non-life threatening conditions will ensure you receive the best possible treatment in the quickest time, leaving our Emergency Department to help those who need them most.

If you’re not sure which service is best for you please visit NHS 111 or phone 111 for guidance.


A night landing on the RD&E helipad


Once you have registered, you'll generally be assessed by a nurse or doctor before further actions are taken. This is called triage. The process is carried out on all patients attending the emergency department. Triage ensures people with the most serious conditions are seen first.

What happens next depends on the results of your assessment. Sometimes further tests need to be arranged before a course of action can be decided.

Our team

There is a team of about 150 staff covering the department around the clock, 365 days of the year.

The team is made up of a number of different health professionals including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. The clinical team is supported by a team of administrative staff.

Patients and visitors to the department will notice nursing and medical staff wearing different colour uniforms. In our emergency department, senior doctors wear bright red.

Where to find us

RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

Contact us

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Barrack Road, Exeter EX2 5DW

You can phone 111 for help or call the main hospital number on 01392 411611.

You can also contact the Boots Pharmacy (based in the hospital) on 01392 435980.

Please note: There is limited parking at the Wonford site.
The Trust provides Park & Ride services from Sowton (EX2 5GL) and from Digby (EX2 7QL). They operate Monday to Friday, and are run in partnership with Dartline.

The hospital is served by the H bus run by Stagecoach. You can plan your bus journey using the Stagecoach website.


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