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New Ambulatory Care Centre provides a better patient experience

22 October 2012

Ensuring a better patient experience, avoiding the need for patients to be in hospital when they don’t need to be and reducing pressures on the Emergency Department are the key aims of the newly opened Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC) at the Royal Derby Hospital – the only one of its kind in the region.   

Patients who need treatment for one of 13 conditions – which include deep vein thrombosis (DVT), anaemia and a suspected or confirmed pulmonary embolism – are quickly referred from the Emergency Department or by GPs to the ACC where they will be seen by a senior physician (medical doctor), with a treatment plan and diagnostic tests started earlier.

Earlier in 2012, new ‘care pathways’ for the 13 conditions were phased in,   which meant patients were seen in a separate area of the hospital (now the ACC) and a senior doctor is involved in their care at an earlier stage. This has now been complemented with the building work and the ACC is now full operational in a physically extended area.

Patients attending the ACC are referred there ONLY by consultants or appropriately-trained middle-grade doctors in the Emergency Department; by consultant physicians via GP telephone triage; and by consultant physicians on the Medical Assessment Unit triage. Patients cannot access the centre directly and must consider other forms of treatment in the first instance, such as the Emergency Department, NHS 111 or their GP.

Patients are greeted by a dedicated receptionist, and provided with information about ACC and what to expect. Rather than waiting around for tests results to be returned, patients and their relatives are now free to leave the area if they wish, perhaps to grab a coffee or lunch, and will be notified via text message when it’s time to return to the ACC. Patients amenities include tea, coffee, newspapers & magazines and television.

Recliner chairs can be found in the ACC, which can be used to prevent hospital admissions. It allows staff to administer a number of different treatments such as blood transfusions, that would normally have needed a hospital stay.

Dr David Staples, consultant physician in acute internal medicine and lead clinician for the development of the ACC, said: “The Ambulatory Care Centre ensures that patients who come in to hospital via the Emergency Department or are referred here by their GP are provided with faster and more effective assessments by specialist doctors and nurses. It also benefits the hospital by helping us make better use of our resources. 

“While the Ambulatory Care Centre will help us relieve pressure on the Emergency Department and allow them to ensure the most ill patients are cared for, members of the public can play their part by ensuring that they only come to hospital when absolutely appropriate. Other healthcare options, such as NHS 111, their GP or pharmacist or the Walk-in Centre on Osmaston Road are available.”

Following feedback from patients, Derby Hospitals has invested in the building work to create larger treatment and waiting areas. This is needed to appropriately accommodate a 71% year-on-year increase in patient being referred to the CDU (120 patients per month) and to make the area more patient-friendly and fit for purpose. 


Ambulatory care is a personal healthcare consultation, treatment or intervention using advanced medical technology or procedures delivered on an outpatient basis (i.e. where the patient's stay at the hospital or clinic, from the time of registration to discharge, occurs on a single calendar day).

The 13 conditions the Ambulatory Care Centre is currently treating are:

  • Anaemia
  • Cellulitis
  • Upper GI bleed
  • Stable asthma
  • Headache
  • Low-risk suspected cardiac pain
  • Suspected pulmonary embolism
  • Confirmed pulmonary embolism
  • Syncope
  • Ambulatory COPD
  • Deep-vein thrombosis
  • Generic pathway
  • First Seizure