Our hospital

  • Emergency Department

    We are the state’s busiest paediatric ED, often experiencing more than 300 presentations on any given day.

    The RCH has cared for the children and young people of Victoria since it was founded in 1870. As a tertiary and quaternary centre, the RCH cares for the most critically ill and medically complex paediatric patients in Victoria. In addition to providing a full range of clinical services, the hospital also supports many health promotion and prevention programs.

    With more than 6,000 staff, 12 wards and 350 beds, the RCH is the major specialist paediatric hospital in Victoria, and also provides care for children and young people from Tasmania, southern New South Wales and other states around Australia and overseas.

    We are the state’s busiest paediatric Emergency Department, often experiencing more than 300 presentations on any given day.

    The RCH is committed to working with health services across the state and plays a significant role in many critical state and nationwide services. We work collaboratively with hospitals to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time, for the benefit of all Victorian children.

    State and national health leadership

    The RCH plays a significant role in a number of state-wide services, including:

    • The Victorian Paediatric, Infant and Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) service
    • The Major Trauma Service for Victoria (with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Alfred Hospital, Ambulance Victoria, Adult Retrieval Victoria and PIPER
    • The Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (with Monash Health, Ballarat Health Services, Barwon Health, Bendigo Health, Eastern Health and Goulburn Valley Health
    • The Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program (with Monash Health and Very Special Kids)
    • The Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service (with Monash Health and Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine)
    • The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program

    The RCH is also a Nationally Funded Centre for paediatric heart transplantation, paediatric liver transplantation (in collaboration with Austin Health) and paediatric lung and heart-lung transplantation (in collaboration with Alfred Health).

    Creating access in the community

    We have been working collaboratively with a number of health services to build capacity and capability across the community so that patients can receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

    • The Northern Hospital – we have a reciprocal Memorandum of Understanding that ensures patients from the northern suburbs can be transferred closer to home if they do not require tertiary care, while patients that require tertiary or quaternary care will have access to RCH services
    • Paediatric Integrated Cancer Service – we provide outreach and shared-care clinics
      for children and young people receiving oncology and haematology treatment in regional Victoria
    • The Community Paediatric Fellow Program – we are increasing specialist capability and capacity in the community by placing advanced trainee paediatricians in community and specialist hospital outpatient clinic
    • The State-wide Paediatric Pathways – is an online resource based on the RCH Clinical Practice Guidelines and provides healthcare professionals across the state with guidance on evidence-based healthcare pathways for children and adolescents presenting with low complexity, high volume conditions
    • Surgery at Barwon Health – RCH surgeons attend the University Hospital Geelong one day per fortnight to provide surgical services while also contributing to professional development programs for staff

    Delivering care closer to home

    We know that there are many benefits in enabling children to return home sooner and the RCH has worked to reduce the average length of stay while continuing to ensure that patients receive the most effective and efficient care.

    In doing this we are often working with local healthcare providers to build their capability to deliver Great Care outside the RCH.

    • The RCH Hospital-in-the-Home service has been expanded
    • The RCH Complex Care Hub is unique in Australia and supports children with chronic and complex medical needs by streamlining care through a central point of contact
    • The RCH Telehealth Service has grown in recent years and enables a range of services to be delivered remotely, often with the support of local general practitioners or health services, and saving millions of kilometres of travel for our rural or regional patients and their families

    Informing and educating

    Beyond the provision of clinical services, education and research, the RCH is also working to help parents, carers and the wider community better understand the leading health issues affecting children and young people in Australia through a number of platforms, including:

    • The RCH National Child Health Poll is a quarterly survey of Australian families, that sheds new light on contemporary health issues affecting children and young people
    • Kids Health Info fact sheets, an online resource with more than 200 topics to help parents and carers better understand common paediatric health concerns