Planning and Designing Accident and Emergency Departments

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Health Building Note 15-01: Accident & emergency departments Planning and design guidance

April 2013

The College of Emergency Medicine

Health Building Note 15-01: Accident & emergency departments Planning and design guidance


Health Building Note 15-01: Accident & emergency departments

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Executive summary

Strategic design
Differentiating levels in decision-making can be a helpful way of handling the expectations of different stakeholders – in what is discussed and when – during capital projects.

This guidance is aimed at the multidisciplinary team including clinicians, design teams, estates planners and managers involved in the strategic and operational planning of an accident & emergency (A&E) service and built space. It sets out the strategic background, uncertainties and evidence-base for key decisions that need to be made in the design and planning of a new or refurbished A&E department. Type 1 A&E is defined as “a consultant-led 24-hour service with full resuscitation facilities and designated accommodation for the reception of accident and emergency patients”. The four key components crucial to the success of a new build or refurbishment are: a. design; b. processes; c. communication and d. the ability to change. The A&E department is part of a whole system approach to emergency care. It requires specific design features, focused on flow, but needs to operate as part of an integrated health system. This should be delivered within an individual trust’s...
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