Acute Medical Unit at Queen Elizabeth

The Acute Medical Unit (AMU) is a specialist unit which sees, assesses and initially manages adult patients with acute medical illness.

Most of the patients we see will have a range of medical conditions and will tend to come to our unit from the Urgent Care or Emergency Department.


The AMU is located at the heart of Queen Elizabeth Hospital close to the Emergency,  Imaging (X-ray and scans) and Critical Care departments. The unit is a combination of wards 1 and 2.

Contact Details

You can contact the unit at:

Ward 1         

T: 020 8836 4071/4072/4063

Ward 2         

T: 020 8836 4054/4055

What conditions does the unit treat?

The AMU treats acute medical patients, including those with the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular: Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), ischaemic heart disease, chest pain, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, valvular heart disease, endocarditis, pericarditis, syncope, aortic dissection
  • Respiratory: asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, pleural disease, pneumothorax, bronchiectasis, pulmonary hypertension
  • Gastrointestinal: gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver disease, gallstones, alcoholic liver disease
  • Neurology: headaches, haemorrhages, meningitis, epilepsy, seizures, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, multiple sclerosis
  • Oncology: new diagnoses, complications of cancer and treatments, such as neutropenic sepsis
  • Renal: Acute Kidney Injury, pyelonephritis, chronic kidney disease
  • Geriatrics: falls, delirium, dementia, collapses, incontinence
  • Endocrinology: diabetes, hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia, electrolyte disturbances, thyroid dysfunction, diabetic feet
  • Infectious Diseases: HIV, TB, malaria, fever in returning travellers, Salmonella, PCP, sepsis
  • Haematology: sickle cell, leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, anaemia
  • Plus: palliative care, substance misuse, poisoning, allergic reactions, shock, unconscious patients, cardio-respiratory arrest, dermatology conditions, musculoskeletal and rheumatological disease

What services do we provide?

The AMU consists of two 39 bedded wards with nine side rooms on each. Our consultants are present on the AMU 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and have fixed teams to ensure continuity of care while patients remain on the unit. Our nurses are trained to a high level to manage multiple complex problems.

We provide all of the following:

  • Daily consultant-led ward and multi-disciplinary board rounds
  • Daily multidisciplinary team input from physiotherapy, occupational therapy and social workers
  • Rapid access to the Joint Emergency Team (JET) for Greenwich patients and to the Care Navigation Team for Bexley patients
  • Rapid access to consultants in all core specialties most days of the week
  • Links with clinical nurse specialists for conditions such as ACS, heart failure, COPD, oncology and palliative care
  • Fast access to diagnostics
  • Daily input from the substance misuse team
  • Joint working with our community partners, including falls teams, COPD teams and district nurses

Who are the services for?

Our services are for medical patients aged over 16 who need admission to hospital. We also regularly accommodate additional surgical, orthopaedic and gynaecology patients and those from the Emergency Department Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU).

Recent Improvements

Last year the department of Acute Medicine expanded to launch an Ambulatory Care Unit. Recently, we recruited two additional acute medicine consultants.

How can you get a referral?

Patients cannot self-refer to the AMU. Most patients will come to the unit from the Emergency Department, the Urgent Care Centre, their GP or from an outpatient clinical area.

Key Staff

  • Dr Debbie-Ann Charles, Clinical Lead
  • Dr David Ward, Dr Alex Taylor, Dr Shital Amin, Dr Philippa Peto, acute physicians
  • Pauline Rafferty, Matron

What else do you need to know?

  • Please remember to bring all medications you are taking and any previous medical letters or reports with you to hospital.
  • Patients and/or carers may also require toiletries, night clothes and a change of clothing for the trip home.