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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Acute Paediatrics

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Children's Emergency Department

Our busy Children's Emergency Department, or 'A&E', cares for over 30,000 patients under the age of 16 each year.

We treat both medical illnesses and injuries, and we are also a Children's Major Trauma Centre. We have close links with the adults' Emergency Department, Paediatric High Dependency Unit (PHDU) and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Does your child need to come to the Emergency Department?

In an emergency, call 999 for the ambulance service.

If you are not sure if your child needs to come to the Emergency Department, call NHS 111. Many common minor illnesses and injuries can be treated at home, by your GP or at a Minor Injuries Unit:

Choose Well - there are alternatives to A&E

The Children's Emergency Department cannot advise on waiting times or give medical advice over the phone.

If your child has fever or pain, don't wait to arrive at the Emergency Department, start the treatment at home. Your child's response to pain relief will help us to understand their condition.

If your child has a chronic condition, and is already under hospital care, please bring their last clinic letter and their medications with you: this is very helpful to us.

Arriving at the Emergency Department

Our friendly team comprises:

  • nurses
  • play specialists
  • advanced nurse practitioners (ANP)
  • emergency medicine and paediatric doctors.

When you arrive, please go to reception and book in. A nurse will then talk to you and your child, to ask some questions and make some observations. They will decide how urgently your child needs to see the doctor or ANP.

There may be a wait to see the doctor or ANP. Children in most urgent need are seen first, so please don't worry if a child who arrived later than yours is seen before them - your child has not been forgotten!

The GP or Emergency Department doctor will examine your child and decide which tests, treatment and/or referrals are most appropriate for their needs.

If there is a wait for test results or treatment, we may admit your child to our Children's Clinical Decision Unit (CDU).

If appropriate, your child could also be admitted to Oxford Children's Hospital or the Horton General Hospital Children's Ward.

While you wait

It is helpful to bring a couple of toys or books, or a smartphone with some apps on it that they enjoy, as play is helpful in reducing anxiety. We offer free WiFi: 'OUH-GUEST'.

We often have a play specialist in the Emergency Department to help take children's minds off procedures such as blood tests.

The Hetty's Hospital app is a good way of exploring a visit to hospital with your child: