A high dependency unit is an area in a hospital on the surgical wards, where patients can be cared for more extensively than on a normal ward, but not to the point of intensive care, it is appropriate for patients who have had major surgery and for those with single-organ failure.

The High Dependency Unit (HDU) provides a service of care for very ill or injured patients. Patients on HDU need constant medical support and may require extra monitoring, help with their breathing or they have a severe infection and need to be cared for using specialist equipment or resources.

Our HDU consists of 4 combined adult beds, one area is screened with the facility to care for patients vulnerable to infections, however there are no cubicles within the unit.

The unit admits approximately 500 patients per year. Patients are transferred to the unit from all specialities, including ENT, colorectal and upper GI surgery, acute medicine,  trauma and orthopaedics. The unit has always done well in national audits of performance.

If a relative of yours is admitted to HDU, he/she will be cared for by a specially trained and qualified nurse at all times, this nurse may also be caring for another patient at the same time.  The nurse may need to assume full responsibility for a patient’s care, this is because the patient is unable, through illness or injury, to take part in their own care.  Each patient’s privacy, dignity, religious and cultural needs will be respected at all times.

A shared care system operates on the unit. This means that the consultant on the ward who your relative was originally admitted under and the HDU consultant anaesthetists will share the medical management of your relative.

Caring for a high dependency patient is very different to caring for a ward patient.  Often HDU patients are heavily reliant on the nursing and medical team and therefore you may encounter delays in visiting while we carry out essential nursing or medical procedures, we apologise in advance for these delays and assure you that any delays will be kept to a minimum.

As high dependency care is a sensitive area with very sick people being treated on it, we ask that only close family relative’s visit patients on HDU, this is in the interest of all our patients and their families.  There are strict visiting times so that patients are able to get their rest and our teams can carry out their work effectively.

Visiting times are between 15.30hrs – 17.00hrs and 18.30hrs – 20:00hrs.

Seriously ill patients can be visited at anytime and we can sometimes arrange for close relatives to stay overnight, Any visitor needing to visit outside the scheduled visiting times will only be allowed to do so in exceptional circumstances and should be arranged with the HDU staff in advance.

Accessibility & Travel Information

Click here for accessibility information and directions for visiting the High Dependency Unit. This page also includes printable guides for your convenience.