Step 1: Booking in

When you arrive, please book in at the emergency department reception desk so we know that you are here. Children and young people are given priority check in where possible. Please give the reception team your contact details and a brief explanation of the problem. Then enter the paediatric emergency department and take a seat in the paediatric waiting area for your initial nursing assessment (we call this triage).

Step 2: Triage

When it is your turn for triage, a nurse will talk to you or your parent/carer to find out the problem and do some initial checks (observations). If you are very ill or seriously hurt, they will get you help immediately.

They may start some treatment straight away. If you are an older child or teenager, it is fine to be seen on your own, just let us know when we call you. It is also important to tell us about any other health problems, allergies or special needs.

You will be told which of our three treatment queues you are being placed in, so you know who and what you are waiting for next:

  • The urgent treatment centre (UTC) queue: for those with less serious conditions that can be assessed and treated by our team of emergency department GPs and nurse practitioners.
  • The emergency department (ED) queue: for those who are seriously ill or injured who need to see an ED doctor or advanced nurse practitioner.
  • The specialist treatment queue: for those who need to be seen by a hospital specialist (for example an ear doctor or a bone doctor). These doctors are based in other areas in the hospital but will come and see you in ED.

Step 3: Waiting for further assessment and treatment

If you do not need intensive monitoring, you will be asked to take a seat back in one of the waiting rooms. Please be prepared to wait. We understand it can be very frustrating when people who arrive after you are seen before you, but emergency departments do not run on a first come first served basis – we must see the most unwell patients first to keep everyone safe.

Please do listen out for announcements but be aware it is difficult to give accurate waiting times as things change quickly in the department. Do remember that interrupting our staff for regular personal updates slows down their ability to see and treat patients and get to you.

If at any point you/your child’s condition is getting worse then please do inform a member of our team so we can address your concerns immediately.

Step 4: Treatment

When it comes to your full assessment, you will be seen by a doctor or an advanced nurse practitioner. They will ask you or your parent/carer some questions and may need to examine you (feeling your stomach or listening to your breathing etc). You might need to have some tests done (investigations) like a scan or blood test and will need to wait with us until the results come back.

The nurse or doctor will tell you what they think is wrong (your diagnosis) and explain what to do to get better (your treatment plan). Sometimes you will need to stay with us for longer to see if the treatment is working.

If you are well enough when we check on you again, then you can go home (be discharged) with some instructions to follow at home. We will tell you or your parent/carer the symptoms and signs (red flags) to watch out for at home that might indicate you are getting worse and need more help.

If you are still unwell when we check on you, you might need to stay in hospital (be admitted). Your parent/carer can stay with you. In the rare occasion that we need to send you to a different specialist hospital (be transferred), we will tell you everything you need to know