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Coming to the Emergency Department

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If you are worried your child is seriously unwell or injured, or you have been asked to come to hospital by your GP, you will need to come to the Paediatric Emergency Department.

For more information to help you decide if your child needs to come to the Emergency Department see 'Worried about my child - Where to get help'

At the moment things are a little different as we try to stop the spread of coronavirus. To keep you and your child safe our staff will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

If you want to prepare your child to meeting staff wearing PPE, here is a video produced by Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity. 

Arriving at the Emergency Department

Children are initially assessed by a nurse when they arrive in the Emergency Deparment. This process is called 'triage'. Triage allows us to decide how urgently a child / young person needs to be seen. We can then prioritise those that need us most.


Initial assessment  of patients presenting to the department is carried out in the most appropriate area of the department, determined by the nature and severity of your child / young person’s condition.  Some patients may be transferred directly to the Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) for this first assessment under the paediatric medical team. 

Your child may receive medical care from a clinician either a Doctor or an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

Nurse Practitioners

Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) and Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENPs) work alongside doctors in the Department. Nurse Practitioners have undergone advanced training to enable them to manage children presenting with a wide variety of conditions including those with complex medical needs.

After the Emergency Department

After initial assessment, stabilisation and treatment, your child / young person will either be discharged home or admitted and transferred to an inpatient ward. We work closely with all inpatient services within the hospital and our pre-hospital teams to ensure  the highest standard of care for our patients.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 12 January 2021

Next review: 28 January 2024