Employees from the Emergency Department celebrated the opening of the joint Emergency Department at Aarhus University Hospital on 22 November (photo: Tonny Foghmar).


From Thursday 22 November, the Emergency Department at Aarhus University Hospital will receive patients with both somatic and psychiatric emergencies. One of the goals is to improve treatment for patients with acute need for psychiatric care.  


Aarhus University Hospital takes another step towards equality in health when the Emergency Department from 22 November will be open also to patients with psychiatric emergencies. Previously, these patients had to get help at a special psychiatric emergency facility.


- Today, there is a considerable and unfair difference between the life expectancy for patients with somatic and psychiatric diseases. I do not think this is acceptable in our society, says Chairman of the Regional Council in Central Denmark Region, Anders Kühnau.


It is obviously unfair and in Central Denmark Region we want to change this by meeting patients in need of both somatic and psychiatric emergency care in the same way, says the Chairman.


Shorter life for patients with psychiatric diseases

A large study in the Nordic countries documents that patients with psychiatric diseases die 15-20 years earlier compared to the general population. Notably, they do not die as a result of their disease but as a result of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, COPD, heart and vascular diseases; diseases that are treatable if diagnosed in time.


- Patients with psychiatric diseases often live with hidden physical diseases because the primary focus of the psychiatric system is to treat psychiatric diseases, says Per Jørgensen who is Chief Medical Officer in Psychiatry and Social Service in Central Denmark Region.


- At the joint Emergency Department it will be possible to assess both somatic and psychiatric symptoms because we have all the medical expertise available. Per Jørgensen sees this as a major step forward.


Coherent care

Claus Thomsen, Chief Medical Officer at Aarhus University Hospital

agrees that a joint emergency department is an advantage for patients with both somatic and psychiatric diseases.


- We have patients with e.g. self-mutilating behaviour who need stitching and later have to be transported to the psychiatric emergency facility to care for their psychiatric needs, says Claus Thomsen.


- This type of patients are now given a better and more coherent offer because the joint emergency department employs experts in both psychiatry and acute medicine; moreover, we can obtain immediate assistance from other relevant specialities, says the Chief Medical Officer at Aarhus University Hospital.



  • Thursday the 22 November, the psychiatric emergency facility became a part of the Emergency Department at the new facilities for Aarhus University Hospital. At the same time, the other psychiatric facilities relocated to the new hospital


  • The Emergency Department is staffed by psychiatric nurses 24-7; a psychiatric doctor is present or available on call


  • Committed or legally sentenced patients are seen directly at relevant departments.



 Further information:

  • Anders Kühnau, Chairman of Regional Council, Central Denmark Region, +45 23 60 27 68


  • Claus Thomsen, Chief Medical Officer, Aarhus University Hospital, e-mail: thomsen@rm.dk, Tel.: +45 29 13 58 49


  • Per Jørgensen, Chief Medical Officer, Psychiatry and Social Service, Central Denmark Region, e-mail: pej@rm.dk, Tel.: +45 20 66 33 84