Emergency and Critical Care

The emergency department assesses and treats people with major trauma, serious injuries and those in need of emergency treatment. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

Generally you should go to the emergency department only in emergencies such as loss of consciousness, a very serious state of confusion, persistent severe chest pain or breathing difficulties.

Major trauma

The term major trauma is used to describe multiple serious injuries that could result in significant physical harm or death.

Major trauma is the main cause of death for people under the age of 45 and is a major cause of debilitating long term injuries. More than half of major trauma is caused by road traffic accidents and it is twice as common in urban areas as in rural areas.

These might include serious head, chest, abdominal and skeletal injuries sustained as a result of accidents, sport or violence.

Southampton General Hospital is a designated major trauma centre, and is one of only two places in the south of England to offer adults and children full onsite major trauma care provision.

Same day emergency care

Same day emergency care (SDEC) is a service that provides urgent care to patients without an admission to hospital. We also have a special assessment area for older patients.

In SDEC, we treat many common conditions including headaches, deep vein thrombosis, cellulitis and diabetes. We also receive many of the community referrals, mainly from GPs.

Acute medical unit

You’ll come to the acute medical unit if your GP has referred you to hospital as an emergency, or if you have been in the emergency department and need to be admitted.

We have an open plan layout which helps us to closely monitor you if we need to. We also have a high observation area for patients which require more intensive care.

Urgent care services

Our emergency department is just one of the urgent care services in Southampton. If you need medical attention but it is not life threatening, there are a number of other local NHS services to choose from. Selecting the right one will help you get the treatment you need faster.

  • Minor burns, sprains, broken bones in arms, lower leg or feet? Find out more about the urgent treatment centre at the Royal South Hants.
  • Need medical attention but it’s not life threatening? Not sure where to go? Call NHS 111.
  • GP appointments are available across Southampton 8am to 9pm, every day of the week at your GP practice or at a GP hub near where you live. Book these appointments through your GP practice or by phoning 111.
  • Need confidential advice or help with medication? Talk to your pharmacist.


How Charity support has impacted the hospital

  • Over £1million was raised from our coronavirus response appeal to help staff and patients throughout the pandemic.
  • We raised £2.2 million in partnership with the Murray Parrish Trust to create a new children’s emergency and trauma department. It’s a new child-friendly and stimulating environment with elements to enhance the care of our patients and make them feel safe and secure. Our surroundings have a huge effect on how we feel and that’s especially important in a hospital.
  • A play specialist within the paediatric department to help reduce anxiety and concern, both with the children and parents.
  • We’ve bought a range of books dealing with death to help children and bereaved families following a sudden loss. We give the books to siblings or family members of children who have died in the paediatric emergency department plus to children of adults who have died in the adult emergency department. The books are useful for the whole family. It is something that the bereaved children are able to read themselves at home, but it can also be a useful tool to teach parents how to talk to children about death.
  • Specialist training for staff.