About Emergency

  • The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) provides urgent medical care to children and adolescents. The department operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Approximately 90,000 patients, ranging from newborns to teenagers, are seen each year; this equates to 250 patients per day on average.

    The RCH Emergency Department (ED) is staffed by a medical team, nurse practitioners, nursing team, clerical, allied health (i.e. social work, mental health workers etc.) and administrative staff as well as ward service assistants. There are 4 resuscitation rooms, 26 consulting cubicles & 2 procedure rooms along with various waiting areas. ED is closely associated with the Radiology Department and the Dolphin Ward – Medical Short Stay.  which assist in the treatment of ED patients.

    Entry to the Emergency Department is via entry 2 from Flemington Road, Parkville. Ambulance and Police vehicles are directed to the allocated bays at the rear of the department with access to a separate triage area. There is a small number of 15min public drop off car parking bays available at the entrance to the department, these are for the facilitation of dropping off children & their carer only; parking is available in the carpark adjacent to the emergency department.

    On presentation to Emergency the child and their carer are first seen by our clerical staff who will check them in and ask a series of screening questions before being directed to a triage nurse. A triage nurse has advanced training to determine the urgency of the child’s problem and how quickly they need to be seen by an emergency clinician. The nurse will conduct an initial assessment of the child and discuss the presenting problem and concerns. This assessment may involve taking the child's temperature, weighing them and administering simple analgesia. After the triage nurse, a clerical staff member will then take Medicare and demographic details from the carer before directing the family to the relevant waiting or treatment area. Depending on how sick or injured the child is, they may receive immediate treatment or need to wait a number of hours; the most seriously ill and critically injured children will always be seen immediately.

    A waiting room team may assist in organising the child’s treatment whilst they are waiting to be seen in a consulting area; this ED team member may organise any necessary medication or x-rays that may be required. This is to assist in streamlining the child’s care plan and minimising the amount of time they need to spend in the department. The patient will then be called and directed to a consulting area to be seen by one of the Emergency Department staff.

    The Emergency Department can become very busy which can result in lengthy wait times. If a child is acutely unwell or injured they will be seen as a priority, children with less urgent healthcare needs will be asked to wait in one of the designated waiting areas.

    The RCH is proud to work closely with The Northern Hospital to ensure high quality paediatric care across both hospitals, if you and your child live in North-West Melbourne you may be transferred closer to home to receive any on going care at The Northern Hospital (Transferring to The Northern Hospital from the RCH Emergency Department). When needing emergency care, please visit your nearest emergency department. 

    Live access to the status of the ED can be found here: https://www.rch.org.au/emerg_rch/status/

    Please note: As Covid-19 progresses, visitor restrictions fluctuate for the hospital and the emergency department. At present, only 1 parent is permitted to attend with their child until they are seen by a clinician in a consulting space with a closed door (excluding the fast-track and short stay areas). Once in a closed space the second parent/carer can enter; no siblings or extended family are permitted. Masks are to be worn by all parents/carers and children aged 5yrs and over.