Direct Assessment Unit (DAU), Antrim Area Hospital

What is the Direct Assessment Unit?

The Direct Assessment Unit is a service based in Antrim Area Hospital run by the Acute Medical Team. This unit delivers Same Day Acute Care to ambulatory medical patients providing diagnosis, observation and treatment the same day as referral. The service is suitable for patients who would otherwise be admitted to hospital.

How does it work?

Access to this Unit is by referral only. Following assessment, referrals can be made by:

  • General Practitioners (GPs)
  • Northern Ireland Ambulance Service
  • Other clinicians, for example outpatient areas, specialist nursing teams.

When appropriate, these clinicians can also speak directly with medical staff at the Direct Assessment Unit to receive specialist advice.

Patients referred to the unit will be assessed, diagnosed, treated and discharged on the same day. If patients cannot be stabilised, direct admission to the hospital will be arranged. The patient will also be given a follow up appointment if required.

The service is Consultant-led with rapid diagnostic access. Referrals are accepted for a wide range of medical conditions.

Patients can arrive at the Direct Assessment Unit up until 6pm. If a patient is unable to attend before this time they can be offered an appointment the following day. Ideally, patients should attend the Direct Assessment Unit as soon as possible after the referral is made to prevent delays in assessing them.

The service helps to avoid unnecessary attendances to the Emergency Department for patients that can be managed safely in an ambulatory setting.

Rapid Access

In addition to contact for urgent assessment, there is a Rapid Access Medical Clinic. This service is for patients who do not require same day assessment but do require assessment within one or two days. This clinic can be accessed by contacting the Direct Assessment Unit medical staff to discuss the referral.


DAU is located on Level B in Antrim Hospital. Entrance is via either the DAU entrance or the main hospital entrance.


  • DAU is equipped with comfortable chairs and trollies to facilitate treatments.
  • Access to toilet facilities.
  • Televisions are available
  • Wifi access available
  • Meals and refreshments will be provided throughout the patient’s stay. Special dietary requirements can be catered for and hot meals can be provided.

Working Hours

  • DAU operates Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am – 8pm. Last patient to the unit by 6pm.
  • The unit will accept referrals for same day assessment between 9am – 6pm.
  • Referrers can also ring for advice until 8pm.


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