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Ambulatory care unit

Patient information A-Z

Ambulatory care unit philosophy

Ambulatory care covers a wide range of healthcare services that are provided for patients who might not benefit from being admitted overnight to hospital. Our aim is to provide a safe, efficient, and caring service which allows patients more flexibility than the inpatient model.

We aim to provide a high standard of skilled care for all our patients. We will ensure privacy; dignity and confidentiality are maintained at all times. We will endeavour to provide a caring, supportive environment for relatives/ carers and we will attempt to ensure that you, your family and your carers are kept up to date with your care and management.

This information is to help you understand how the ambulatory care unit works and what may happen during your stay with us.

Why have I been asked to come here?

You have been asked to come here because you have a set of symptoms which we believe we can best investigate, diagnose and treat in a day unit. You may be in the unit for several hours, but we strive to complete as many of your investigations as possible within the same visit. Admission into hospital may of course be advised if you develop new symptoms, or if we feel that your condition requires closer monitoring.

What will happen next?

Upon arrival, your details will be checked by one of our nursing staff, and an initial assessment performed. Some tests will be carried out prior to seeing a doctor and these may include:

  • Blood pressure, pulse and temperature
  • Heart tracing
  • Finger prick test for blood sugar
  • Urine sample
  • Chest x-ray
  • Blood sample taken from a needle inserted into a vein in your arm
  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • An ultrasound scan

Some of these tests, for example a CT scan, x-ray or an ultrasound, will require you to leave the department, and return to it after the test has been completed. If are comfortable walking, our receptionist can give you directions or a map of the hospital to help you find your way or one of members of staff will escort you there.

Once you have had your tests, you will see the doctor. The doctor will ask you further questions about your health and will perform an examination. At the end of that process you will be informed of your diagnosis and any further tests that may be required. When needed, a prescription will be written, which can be collected from the onsite outpatient pharmacy.

Although we expect that most patients will go home, there will be some occasions where we suggest you stay in hospital for further tests, monitoring or treatment. Please always feel free to ask any member of staff questions if you are unsure at any point during your visit. Sometimes it can be helpful to jot questions down before you see the doctor: pens and paper are available at reception. Your GP will be sent a doctor’s letter summarising your attendance.

What can I do if I become worried about my condition?

If at any point you are concerned about your condition when you have left the hospital, please contact your GP in the first instance; he or she will liaise with the hospital if further investigation or treatment is required.

Other information:

Patient safety

Safety is our primary concern. We request that everyone uses the alcohol hand gel provided before entering the unit, to minimise the spread of infection. As space is limited within the clinic area, we would be grateful if only one person accompanies you when you come for your appointment. Unfortunately there is no provision on this unit to allow for visitors.

Mobile phones

For the comfort of other patients, we politely request that mobile phones are switched to silent mode or off whilst you are on the unit.


If you are unable to arrange childcare then please ensure there is someone else with you who can look after them if you need to undergo investigations. In the interests of children’s safety, we ask that you do not allow them to sit or play on the floor. If this should happen, children should wash their hands immediately.

Privacy and dignity

Visitors are asked to respect patients’ privacy and dignity at all times. This might include visitors being asked to leave patient areas at certain times. Staff will always explain why, if such requests have been made.

Food and drink

Refreshments for friends and family are available in the Concourse or Outpatients. Cold drinks are available at all times in our waiting room.


We ask that you arrange your own transport home wherever possible.


We value both positive and negative feedback and suggestions on the service that we offer. If you can think of a way in which we could improve things, please tell us. If you are unhappy about any aspect of your care or the environment of the unit, please speak to the nurse in charge. If you do not feel able to raise an issue with the staff then there is a dedicated patient advice & liaison service (PALS) situated next to the front entrance in the main reception.

Hours of opening:

08:30 to 20:00 Monday to Friday,

09:00 to 16:00 Saturday and Sunday


01223 348314


From the main entrance please follow the signs to all wards and departments. Walk through the concourse with the hairdressers on your left turn left on the corridor. Walk to the end of the corridor and take the lift to the third floor. The ambulatory care unit is about 20 metres ahead and on the right hand side.

From the outpatient entrance follow the signs towards the main hospital and concourse. Continue along the corridor until the corridor bends to the left. On your right hand side there is a lift. Take the lift to the third floor. The ambulatory care unit is about 20 metres ahead and on the right hand side.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151