The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

What we do

The Gynaecology Acute Treatment Unit (GATU) is a 24/7 specialist nurse and doctor-run, consultant-led acute service. We see women who have been referred to us by their GP, the emergency department or other health services. Unfortunately we do not accept self-referrals. We aim to provide safe, effective, personal and rapid healthcare to all women while maintaining dignity, privacy and personal views.

A visit to the unit involves being seen by specialist staff (doctors and nurses) who take a history of symptoms, perform relevant examinations and investigations in order to deliver appropriate care.

Common conditions seen in our service:

  • Pain and bleeding in early pregnancy (less than 14 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Acute (new) pelvic pain
  • Acute (new) heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Painful lumps in the vulva and vagina
  • Foreign objects in the vagina e.g. lost tampons
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome 

Girls under the age of 16 with acute gynaecological conditions normally seen by  Paediatrics and care is discussed with our unit.


We are located on ward J24a at The Leeds Centre For Women's Health, 2nd floor, Chancellor Wing, St James Hospital.

Opening Times

Gynaecology Acute Treatment Unit's Ward and Assessment area- 24 hours a day.

Gynaecology Acute Treatment Unit Clinic- Monday to Friday from 09.00-17.00

What we do

We are a consultant-led specialised unit for women who present with acute symptoms suggestive of a gynaecological cause or problems in early pregnancy. During your visit you will have a consultation with a doctor or specialist nurse and may be offered an examination including an internal examination.  You may also need investigations as part of your management.

Acute gynaecology Unit Welcome BoardReferrals

Women with gynaecological  or early pregnancy conditions may be referred via the following:

  • Accident & Emergency department
  • Urgent Care Centre
  • GP/ Patient care access line (PCAL)
  • From another speciality

The unit does not take self-referrals (referrals directly from women) unless you have had a molar or an ectopic pregnancy in the past, or you have a history of recurrent miscarriage (Three previous consecutive first trimester miscarriages). 

 GATU welcome board

Referral Criteria

This unit is for women with emergency gynaecological problems who need to be seen immediately:

  • Red / swollen / painful lump outside the vagina known as Bartholin’s or vulval abscess 
  • Sudden unexpected heavy vaginal bleeding which is on going/ with evidence of anaemia / with haemodynamic compromise
  • Sudden unexpected severe abdominal pain
  • Post operative problem for women who have had gynaecological surgery within last 30 days
  • Vaginal bleeding or pain in early stages of pregnancy between 6 to 14 weeks pregnant
  • Fluid collection related to underlying gynaecological cancer known as ascites
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation (OHSS) following fertility treatment
  • Post-natal problems such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, episiotomy or vaginal tear wound problems for women who are more than 30 days post delivery
  • Inability to pass urine because of vaginal prolapse

If your symptoms are not severe or are long-standing your referring clinician will either be offered advice and guidance on how to help treat you or be advised to refer you to our routine gynaecology clinic for on going care and investigations of your symptoms.

GATU Clinic attendance slots 

You will be offered an attendance time (normally within 48 hours of your referral where possible) to attend the unit for review. Please note this is not an appointment time, although we will aim to see you as soon as we can when you arrive.

Our doctors and trained nurses aim to see you within four hours of your arrival. However, emergency patients who require immediate medical care are treated by the same staff and this can result in delays. In addition to this you may need investigations, and may need to wait for the results. We will keep you informed as far as possible of how long you can expect to wait to be seen. The GATU welcome board outlines what your journey to our unit might look like.

Waiting Area

What happens at the unit?

On arrival please report to the reception where you will be asked to complete a form regarding your personal details.

Children are not allowed on the unit. Unfortunately, our staff are unable to supervise them while you are being cared for so, if brought to hospital, they must remain outside the unit with a suitable guardian.

Any next of kin will need to wait outside the unit due to limited seat availability within our waiting area to allow for appropriate social distancing. Please see COVID-19 Changes to services for the trust's visitor policy.

You no longer need to wear a face mask while in hospital. However, we would be grateful if you and any visitors did. This helps to protect our staff and may reduce staff sickness rates so that we can deliver the greatest care with a suitable number of staff available.

Shortly after your arrival you will then be seen by a healthcare assistant or nurse for a check of your blood pressure, temperature and other basic observations. You will be asked to provide a urine sample. 

Your consultation will be with either one of our on-call gynaecology doctors or specialist nurses. He or she will assess you and plan any investigations necessary. These investigations may include vaginal swabs, blood and urine tests. An ultrasound scan will be requested and performed ONLY IF REQUIRED.


What happens after your consultation?

The on call doctor or specialist nurse may decide on one of the following:

  • You are medically fit and able to go home
  • You can go home but will be contacted by the unit with results of certain investigations
  • You need a follow up in the unit to assess your symptoms or to get specific investigation results back
  • You are referred back to your GP or to another specialty in hospital
  • You require admission to the gynaecology ward for observation, investigation and treatment
  • You are referred to a gynaecology clinic once you go home for on going care

Discharge from the unit

After you have been discharged your GP will be informed of your visit to our unit as part of your care unless you request otherwise.