Adult Emergency Department

Adult Emergency Department

Contact Information
Tel 01 414 3601 or 01 414 3536

How to find us
The public entrance for the Emergency Department (ED) at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) is opposite the multi-storey car park.

Only hospital staff can access the ED from inside the main hospital.

Emergency Department
The busy, modern Adult ED at TUH provides a 24 hour emergency service, 365 days a year and sees over 50,000 adult patients a year. Approximately 28% of patients attending the ED are admitted to the hospital.

 The Department is made up of:

  • Five Resuscitation Cubicles (Zone 1)
  • 18 Major cubicles (Zone 1)
  • Eight cubicles for ambulatory care and minor injuries (Zone 2)
  • Two Psychiatry Assessment rooms
  • Two Triage Rooms
  • Three Rapid Assessment cubicles.
  • Two Isolation rooms and one single room

Click here to access Emergency Department Patient Information Leaflet

When to come to the ED?

The ED is for patients that need emergency care as a result of a serious illness or accident. Your GP may refer you to the ED because you need urgent assessment and treatment for illnesses such as Stroke, Heart Attack, Appendicitis etc. Your GP should give you a letter, which you MUST hand to the Triage Nurse. The Triage Nurse will assess all patients and assign clinical priority as per the Manchester Triage System.

If you are referred by a GP to attend the ED the letter should contain the following information:

  • Patient’s full name and full postal address
  • Date of birth
  • Relevant medical details – i.e. current and past medical problems, medication that is being taken
  • Reason for the referral
  • Whether the patient has attended TUH before
  • Home and telephone mobile phone numbers indicating the patient’s preferred contact number
  • Details as to whether the patient needs an interpreter/advocate/other special assistance

On arrival patients are assessed by an experienced emergency nurse. This assessment is called triage and is designed to ensure the most seriously ill patients are seen first.

What happens in the ED?

Patients who arrive on foot or by car will register at the main ED reception desk. At registration, make sure all details are correct-ensure you update any new details/information at registration. Please advise reception staff if you have any special requirements. You will then be asked to take a seat in the waiting room to be called by an experienced ED nurse for triage assessment.

Patients who come in by ambulance can be registered by a family member or friend. Sometimes patients who arrive by ambulance, if they are not too unwell, may be asked to wait in the waiting room to be assessed by a nurse.

The triage assessment determines the next step in the patient’s journey through the ED. Patients are not seen in the order that they have arrived to the ED, but based on the seriousness of their condition.

Triage is a nursing assessment that places the patient into a group determined by the seriousness and duration of their illness. Patients are seen according to their triage category, in other words how ill they are, and not on the order/mode of arrival. All patients are placed into either Zone 1 or Zone 2 ambulatory care.

Zone 1: Acute illnesses requiring close monitoring and possible admission
Zone 2: Patients who do not need close monitoring and are more likely to be discharged home.

Following triage you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area. You will be waiting for the Doctor or the Advanced Nurse Practitioner to see you. Unfortunately, accurate waiting times are impossible to predict as it can vary from minute to minute as to how busy the department is.

On Monday-Fridays the ED operates a rapid assessment unit alongside triage called RATU. The goal of RATU is to get any necessary investigations or treatments started (such as x-rays or blood tests) so that they can happen while you are waiting to see the Doctor or Advanced Nurse Practitioner. It can take time for x-rays, blood tests and scans to happen as there may be others before you waiting for these tests. While awaiting these tests you may be asked to move from the cubicle to allow other patients to be assessed.

Over 70% of patients who come to the ED, are discharged home. If you are being discharged from the ED you may be given a follow up appointment. Tallaght University Hospital does not have a dispensing pharmacy on site. A staff member will be able to direct you to a pharmacy if you are leaving out of hours as there are several late night pharmacies in the area.

For those patients who are not discharged from the ED, and who need to stay in hospital, you will be referred by the ED team to the appropriate specialist team, for example a medical or a surgical team. This too can add to your waiting time as these teams may be working on the wards, in the out-patients department or theatre.

Should you need to be admitted to the Hospital, bed management will be informed and a suitable bed in the hospital will be accessed for you. Beds are not available on demand, but every effort is made to facilitate you’re transfer to a ward as soon as possible. ED staff have no access to Ward beds and are therefore dependent on communications from bed management to allocate patients.

Please Note

Guidance for ED Patients & Visitors

The ED is a busy place and we would ask patients and all visitors to follow these guidelines during their time in the Dept:

  • With COVID-19 restrictions and the need for social distancing space is limited in the waiting area. Patients are asked to attend the ED alone when possible. 
  • The staff fully appreciate that the ED can be a stressful and anxious place for patients and their families however we would ask that you treat the staff with respect. Verbal abuse, violence or aggression to staff or other patients will not be tolerated and the patient and/or family members may be asked to leave
  • Please be mindful that the ED is a treatment area for sick patients
  • Please do not leave valuable items unattended, if you are being admitted to hospital please ensure any valuables are sent home with family/friend
  • The use of mobile phones is restricted in the ED. If you are in an area where you are allowed to have your mobile turned on we would respectfully ask that it is turned on to silent mode so it does not disrupt other patients
  • The ED has very ill and vulnerable patients- please do not visit or accompany a patient if you have flu, vomiting and/or diarrhoea in the previous two days
  • Pastoral care is available upon request in the ED please speak to a nurse if this is something you require

Visiting the ED

Please do not visit or accompany a patient if you are vomiting, have diarrhoea or any flu-like illness in the previous two days. The ED has sick and vulnerable patients who could catch your illness.

The ED appreciate that family and friends want to visit their loved one while they are in the Department. But the ED is a very busy area with patients and staff so there is a very strict visiting policy which is separate from the main hospital.

 Zone 1: One visitor per patient, this may be revised by nursing depending on each individual patient’s condition.
 Zone 2: NO visitors are allowed due to the size of the area and number of patients. The elderly may have one relative OR carer with them.

 Please note that if you are permitted to visit the ED you may be asked to leave in certain circumstances:

  • If there is an emergency
  • If the patient has more than one visitor and this has not been agreed with the Nurse In Charge
  • If the medical staff need to examine the patient or a procedure needs to be undertaken
  • During meal times and nursing handover

Leaving the ED

If you require to be admitted to the Hospital you will need to wait until a bed is available on the ward, as soon as the bed is available you will be transferred to the ward

If you do not need to be admitted but require further care i.e. attend a fracture clinic the ED team will liaise with this service and you will receive an outpatient appointment as part of your continuing care. The doctor or nurse you see will give explain your diagnosis and answer any questions you might have. It is important you understand any information/advice you have been given so please ask any questions you have before you leave.

If you need proof that you have attended the ED, please ask the nurse or doctor looking after you. Short-term sick notes can be provided where appropriate. Social welfare certificates should be provided by your GP.

Every patient discharged home from the ED will have a letter sent to their GP outlining the visit to the ED, informing the GP about any tests or investigations that have been done. This may take 1-2 working days to be posted out. (It is important that your GP details are correct please inform reception if details of your GP have changed)

You should not leave the ED with any intravenous cannula still in place.

ED Charges

If you attend the ED without a letter of referral from a GP or do not have a valid medical card then a charge of €100 applies. If a charge applies to your visit you can pay this before you leave or an invoice will be issued to your home address. Details on how to make payments can be found through this link