Emergency Department status

No matter how busy our Emergency Department is, the most seriously ill and injured patients will always be seen immediately.

How busy is the RCH Emergency Department right now?

Everyone who attends the ED wants to be seen quickly and we will always try to complete your care as soon as we can.

Unfortunately, there are times when we are particularly busy, and significant waiting times can occur.

If your child has an urgent problem, you will always have a very short wait time, or may avoid the waiting room altogether.

We give priority to children with the most urgent healthcare needs.

If you are required to spend any length of time in the waiting room, this is because your child’s condition is less urgent. We appreciate this can be stressful and frustrating. We can often commence your child’s treatment and provide advice and information while you are waiting.

The picture below provides a real time guide to how busy we are:


Displaying current status. Last updated 21 Apr 2024 05:31:11 +AEST

Our status explained

NORMAL ACTIVITY Even during normal level of activity, our staff are often busy, and waiting times around an hour are common.
VERY BUSY As we get busier, the number of children in the waiting room increases and the time you may need to wait for treatment gets longer.
EXTREMELY BUSY When we are extremely busy, the waiting room gets crowded and some children may need to wait more than four hours to see the doctor.

Should I bring my child to the Emergency Department?

Not sure if your child is ill enough to attend the Emergency Department? This video may help with your decision.

What to expect when you arrive at the Emergency Department

Please click here for the latest information on COVID-19 visitor restrictions.

The most seriously ill and critically injured children will always be seen first. This is regardless of when they arrived or how they arrived (by ambulance, walk-in or sent by another doctor).

If you’re not sure if your child is ill enough to attend the Emergency Department, please see the Should I bring my child to the Emergency Department section for helpful information, including a video, and tips on caring for your child at home.

The ED is a very busy place with lots happening behind the scenes, please see the What to Expect and FAQ’s sections to best prepare for your visit.

If your child is critically unwell, please call 000.

Transferring to The Northern Hospital

The RCH and The Northern Hospital are proud to work closely together, through the training of paediatric specialists and the adoption of clinical guides, so that children receive high-quality care at both hospitals.

If you live in the North-West and your child’s condition is less serious, we may speak with you about transferring you closer to home for ongoing care at The Northern Hospital.

To find out more about our partnership with The Northern Hospital, please click on the brochures below

Find another health service

Priority primary care centres (PPCC) now operate at many locations across Victoria. They provide free, same-day doctor appointments for babies, children and adults with urgent but non-life-threatening conditions. Find your nearest PPCC and book an appointment here.

If your child is experiencing any cold, flu or COVID-19 like symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, fever or sore throat and you cannot see your regular GP, free appointments are available at GP respiratory clinics (GPRCs) across Victoria. Find your nearest GPRC here.

The Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED) is a public health service available to treat patients with non-life-threatening conditions virtually. Access is available from anywhere in Victoria, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Useful links

Kids Health Info - The Kids Health Info fact sheets have been developed to help you learn more about health topics, medical conditions and the services available at The Royal Children's Hospital.