Surgical Assessment Unit

The surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) provides a service for rapid assessment & treatment of a variety of surgical conditions. Once the patient is assessed in the SAU they will be either admitted as an inpatient to the hospital for treatment or treated on the unit itself or discharged home if appropriate.

Lead Clinical Consultant

  • Mr. Paul Burke

What We do

The Surgical Assessment unit (SAU) at University Hospital Limerick provides a  rapid access facility for Acute Surgical Patients who have been assessed by a medical practitioner. The purpose of the SAU is to assess and treat acute surgical patients who would have previously presented to the Emergency Department. Day care is provided in SAU to treat some surgical patients without having to admit the patients to hospital.

Referrals are directed to the SAU by:

  1. General practitioners
  2. Local injury unit’s in Nenagh, St Johns and Ennis hospitals
  3. Other acute hospitals
  4. Community hospitals
  5. Community nursing units

The referring doctor must contact  the Nursing Staff in the SAU directly in relation to their proposed patient referral . Following discussion of clinical details the nurse will advise the referring doctor if the patient referral is appropriate to their referral pathway.  If the patient is appropriate to the referral pathway  an appointment time is issued to the referring doctor who advises patient of same

Services provided

The service is provided for patients over the age of 16 with an acute general surgical condition. The care within the unit is provided by Clinical Nurse Manager and her nursing team in conjunction with an allocated medical Senior House Officer.

The allocated Senior House Officer on duty each day will  link in with the  surgical Consultant & his/her  team on call on the day.

Opening Hours

The SAU is operational Monday to Friday excluding Public Holiday from 08:00 hours to 20:00 hours. The last appointment issued to patients is 18:00 hours.

What to Expect

  • On arrival to the unit the patient checks in with the ward clerk.
  • The patient must present their referral letter to the ward clerk .
  • The patient is triaged and assessed by the nurse initially who performs a work up on the patient involving vital observations, urine test, blood tests etc.
  • The patient is then reviewed  by the SHO who gives a provisional diagnosis and who will order further specific investigations as required. On completion of all investigations the results are reviewed and reassessed by the SHO, an appropriate treatment/care pathway is identified.
  • The treatment pathway may result in one of the following:
    1. Inpatient admission to University Hospital Limerick
    2. Discharge home for GP follow up
    3. Discharge home for Outpatient follow up
    4. Discharge home for Day Ward follow up
    5. Discharge home for elective admission
    6. Transfer to another specialist hospital

Inpatient admissions from SAU will be transferred to an inpatient bed on a ward from the SAU as soon as the bed is available with a detailed handover of the patients care in the SAU communicated to the inpatient ward.

Contact Us

Surgical Assessment Unit: (061) 482474/2479


The SAU is located on the 1st floor (next to the Surgical Day Ward) of University Hospital Limerick (UHL) .

Related Links

National Clinical Care programme in surgery