Emergency Department at The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Phone: Dial 000 in an emergency
The Emergency Department (ED) at The Children's Hospital at Westmead provides urgent and emergency care to newborns through to adolescents from across NSW and beyond.
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the ED is staffed by a team of expert nursing, medical, allied health and clerical staff who care for children suffering from serious injury or illness.
The best place for your child’s regular care is with their GP, paediatrician or other health care provider. If your child is experiencing general health complaints such as a cough or sore throat or needs to receive a general health check-up, we encourage you to see your local health care provider closer to home.
If you think your child’s condition is immediately urgent, please call 000 for an ambulance.
Your local Emergency Department can manage most problems. To find your local ED, visit NSW Health's Emergency Department Website
Accessing the ED
Our ED is located at the intersection of Hawkesbury Road and Helen Street (approximately 200 metres along Hawkesbury Road from the Main Hospital entrance). You can also access our ED via corridors from the Main Hospital (approximately a 200 metre walk).
Click here for information on parking at CHW.
What happens in the ED?
When you arrive, you will first be seen by the Triage Nurse. The Triage Nurse will ask for information on your child’s injury or illness and will carry out a simple assessment. This may include weighing your child and taking their temperature and blood pressure. Based on the child’s symptoms, medical history and condition, the triage nurse will then determine how urgently your child needs to be seen by a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner.
If the triage nurse suspects your child needs a test, procedure or operation which requires an empty stomach, you will be advised for your child to NOT consume anything while waiting for review.
You will be asked to speak to a clerical staff member. They will need to take a record of your child’s name, home address and Medicare Card details. This information will usually be collected after your child is seen by the Triage Nurse. If your child needs to be urgently treated, this may be completed at a later stage.
Most children will spend some time in the Waiting Room before they are called in to see a Doctor or Nurse Practitioner.
Children with life threatening a injury or illness, including children who are not breathing or unconscious, will bypass the Waiting Room and will immediately receive urgent care.
Waiting times are dependent on the severity of a child’s illness or injury and the number of children in the ED. Those with serious health complaints will always be seen first. Sometimes, the wait can be one hour or longer.
A nurse will regularly monitor children in the waiting room. If you feel your child’s symptoms have changed or are getting worse, please let the nurse or a member of staff know.
Going into the Department
When your child’s name is called, they will be taken to an assessment area to be seen by one of the ED nursing staff. They will typically ask you to detail your child’s symptoms and medical history and may need your child to undergo a number of tests (for example, a blood test or x-ray). They may observe your child for a period of time. Specialists from other areas of the Hospital may also come to the ED to see your child.
If your child requires observation, we have special observation wards that your child may be moved to.
Most children will be assessed, treated and discharged home from the ED. In these cases, the ED Doctor or Nurse Practitioner caring for your child will provide you with a discharge summary which outlines what assessment and treatment took place in the ED and proposed treatment plan. Where relevant, ED staff may provide you with a referral to see a GP, paediatrician or other specialist in the hospital or in the community.
If you require a medical certificate, please ask your nurse or doctor before leaving.
Admitted to hospital
Depending on their injury or illness, some children may need to be transferred from the ED to a ward in the Hospital for longer-term care or monitoring. If appropriate, sometimes staff in the ED may organise a transfer to your local hospital, so you can be closer to home.
Visitors to the ED
Please see our COVID-19 information for the most up to date visitor guidelines.
Support while in the ED
Support is available to all children and families during their stay in the ED.
• Play Therapists can help ease the fear experienced by some patients, through the use of play and distraction techniques. They also greatly assist in educating children about the Hospital, procedures and tests.
• Volunteers generously give their time to supporting patients and families in the ED by playing with children or helping parents and carers find nearby services.
• Social Workers are available to support families in distress or whose children are experiencing a life threatening medical emergency.
• Interpreters can be contacted by ED staff for parents and carers. If English is not your first language, and you need the help of an interpreter, please do not hesitate to ask a member of the ED team.
Keeping everyone safe
Emergency is now under 24 hour video surveillance for everyone’s safety
CCTV security cameras have recently been installed in the Emergency Department at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead following incidents in emergency departments across the state where people have been made to feel intimidated and/or unsafe. NSW Health has rolled out a security upgrade program across all Emergency Departments in NSW to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, everyone's safety.
Why have the cameras been installed?
To keep our staff, patients and families safe and monitor suspicious and aggressive behaviour. The Hospital Security team will now have a direct visual link to any incident within the department and be able to respond accordingly.
Who will be viewing the footage?
Security will be the only people who can view the footage and will do so only during specific risks/threats or for an incident review. All footage will be automatically deleted after 30 days.