The Prime Minister David Cameron has visited the new Emergency Multidisciplinary Unit (EMU) at Witney Community Hospital, which opened earlier this year.

David Cameron visits Witney EMU. Picture by Ric Mellis.Modelled on the Guardian innovation award-winning EMU at Abingdon, Witney follows the same ground-breaking approach to providing high-quality care closer to home.

EMUs use the combined skills of doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and social workers to deliver rapid assessment and treatment needs of patients with multiple, often complex problems, many of whom are frail and elderly. The unit provides comprehensive medical, nursing, therapist and social care assessment, supported by advances in ‘point-of-care’ diagnostic technology that provide test results within minutes of patients’ arrival.

Mr Cameron who was visiting the unit in his role as local Oxfordshire MP said:“It is fantastic to be able to meet patients and staff at this innovative new unit. Finding new ways to deliver care that meets people’s needs is exactly what we need to do be doing to develop the NHS of tomorrow. Witney EMU is a great example of that.”

Chief Executive of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Stuart Bell CBE said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to our Witney EMU. Patients tell us that they want to be treated closer to home, with the minimum disruption to their lives and to maintain as much independence as possible. The EMU supports that by delivering responsive joined up health and social care tailored around their needs. We believe this model of care holds great promise for the future.”

health PM witney: Picture: Ric Mellis


  • The benefit of EMUs for patients is that many of their medical needs can be met swiftly without the need for admission to an acute hospital further away. While those with sudden or immediately life-threatening conditions like heart attack stroke, head injury or trauma requiring surgery need to attend A&E departments, many more ‘sub-acute’ and complex conditions can be treated without acute hospital admission.
  • Patients aged 18 or over are referred by their GP or other health and social care professionals including ambulance services, district nurses and community matrons. Anyone attending the EMU is assessed within 20 minutes of arriving and has a management plan completed within four hours.  This can include nursing and medical reviews, diagnostics including x-ray, bloods, ECG, urinalysis, and a social work and therapy review. There is also a pool of four beds available in Witney Community Hospital wards (for up to 72 hours) for those patients who need short stay in-patient care. The EMU works closely with the trust’s Hospital at Home Team which delivers care to people in their own homes as part of a joined up package of care for local people.