Your time in ED

  • FAQ's

    What should I bring?

    • Child's Medicare details along with any private health details.
    • If you have been referred by another health professional, please bring any supporting documents, results or x-rays.
    • Personal care items such as nappies, wipes, blankets, bottles, food and drinks.
    • Parents with young babies or toddlers may wish to bring a pram or capsule.
    • Wait times can be lengthy, it is a good idea to bring phone/tablet chargers and small activity items. 

    Waiting room

    It is impossible for us to give you an accurate wait time. There may be many children requiring urgent treatment, and some children require treatment that takes longer than others. A child’s treatment can’t be rushed so we thank you for your patience and consideration; we are doing our best to see you in the shortest possible time.

    If you feel your child’s condition changes or pain increases, tell the triage nurse at the triage support desk.

    If you choose not to wait for treatment or need to leave the waiting area for any reason, please see the triage nurse or clerical desk before you leave.

    See our current Emergency Department status

    Why are other children being seen first?

    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). 

    The ED is a very busy place with lots happening behind the scenes. 

    Will I be seen by a doctor in ED?

    The emergency department has a team of over 200 staff with varied qualifications and specialties. Your child may be seen by a Senior Doctor, Junior Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse. Depending on why your child has presented to the emergency department, they will be treated by an appropriate clinician from one of our teams. 

    Our team of nurse practitioners are highly experienced emergency nurses, qualified to assess patients, provide treatment and discharge or refer patients without being seen by a doctor.

    The ED is staffed by residents, registrars and emergency specialists. Residents and registrars are qualified doctors who are completing further training. They are supervised by senior doctors who are specialists in managing paediatric emergencies. The doctors work with the nurses and other staff to provide the best care for your child. You may meet a number of doctors during your stay in ED. If you are admitted, you will also see doctors from the inpatient teams.

    As part of The RCH Allied Health team, one or more of the following Allied Health staff may visit to support your child’s treatment such as social workers, mental health clinicians, educational play therapists and radiographers. 

    There is also an after-hours GP practice that operates within the department, your child may fit the criteria to be seen by the GP and will be called by the clinic receptionist in the waiting room. Please note that it is at the clinics discretion which cases they see as guided by the triage nurse.

    Where can I park?

    Entry to the Emergency Department is via entry 2 from Flemington Road, Parkville. 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 or along Flemington Road as signed.

    Cars left in the drop-off area may receive fines or be towed away at the councils discretion.  

    Can family visit whilst my child is in ED?

    Currently, only a parent or legal guardian can accompany the child whilst in ED. Refer to the visitor policy for the most up to date information. 

    Extended family and siblings are not permitted to attend the ED at present; once a child is admitted to a ward then it is appropriate to welcome visitors (see individual ward for applicable visitor guidelines).


    If your child needs a longer stay or more complex treatment, they will be admitted to our short stay ward, an inpatient ward or the intensive care unit. Your child will be transferred to a ward as soon as a bed is available (this wait can sometimes be several hours).

    Operating theatres

    Your child may need a surgical procedure. Surgery usually means fasting (nothing to eat or drink) and being taken to the operating theatres on level 3. You will meet your child’s surgeon, anesthetist and the theatre staff, who will explain in detail what will happen.

    When your child wakes up after the operation, they will stay in the recovery room close to the operating theatres for a length of time. Once they are awake and as comfortable as they can be, they may be transferred to one of the wards or discharged home, depending on the type of procedure.

    Patient identification

    When your child comes to Emergency, they will have an ID band attached around their wrist or ankle. The information on the band includes the patient’s name, date of birth, their unique RCH record number (or UR number), and a barcode. A red ID band indicates your child needs an additional alert regarding allergies. Many different nursing, medical and allied health staff may care for your child throughout their stay and will routinely scan your child’s ID band to confirm the patient’s information.

    It is essential to wear an ID band at all times, so please speak with nursing staff if your child does not have one.