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Emergency Department

The Northern Beaches Hospital Emergency Department is a public 50-bed unit that provides urgent, 24-hour care to the Northern Beaches community. Around 65,000 sick and injured patients will come through our doors this year - approximately 17,000 will be children.

Patients are treated by senior emergency consultant doctors and senior emergency nursing staff. They have access to pathology, radiology and imaging services at any time of day or night.

The Emergency Department includes:

  • 22 acute monitored beds
  • an 11-bed short stay area - for those who need a longer period of observation
  • dedicated 8-bed paediatric area - with paediatric specialists and paediatric-trained clinicians
  • 4 resuscitation beds
  • a fast-track and minor injury unit.

  • You will be assessed by the Triage Nurse. Triage is a short assessment, and helps the emergency team get the right treatment to the most unwell people in the best possible time frame. Ambulances are triaged and enter at the side of the department.
  • A Senior Clinical Nurse will see you while you wait to be seen by a doctor. They may commence some of your treatment. You might be asked to step inside briefly for further examinations or minor procedures.
  • You may have X-rays/tests or specialist consults while in the waiting room in preparation for your doctor to see you.
  • If you need to come inside the Emergency Department, your nurse or doctor will allocate you a space and brief in other nursing staff. Inside, the doctor (who you may have already met in the waiting room) will continue to see you.
  • The Emergency Department can get very busy with other unwell patients, even if the waiting room is quiet.
  • Waiting times are no shorter than any other emergency room – even though we are part of a semi-private hospital, we are a public department.
  • We can’t rush anyone’s care.
  • You may be waiting for some tests – please check with the Triage Nurse.
  • You may wish to prepare a list of your past medical problems and current medications – staff find this very helpful.
  • Please don’t eat without checking with the Triage Nurse - this may delay tests or even an operation.
  • We will always assess your health needs as a priority and, if required, ensure you have access to*:
    • pain relief
    • an interpreter
    • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander liaison officer
    • a social worker
    • information on what is happening with your care.
  • *Please ask staff if this is not discussed
  • You may need further tests and/or input from a specialist doctor.
  • We may suggest admission to hospital.
  • You may wish to use your private health insurance.

The treatment of all patients in the Emergency Department is covered by Medicare, unless:

  • the patient needs to be admitted to Hospital and chooses to use their private health insurance – in this case, we need to firstly consult with a private specialist doctor and obtain a quote for their services
  • the patient is from overseas – there will be a fee, so we recommend bringing health insurance details along.

Support is very important to patients, as is privacy. Please limit visitors to 2 inside the Emergency Department. Visitors may be asked to leave certain areas during treatment.

We all need to be safe in the Emergency Department. Violent, threatening or abusive people will be asked to leave by staff, or by the police.

  • With your treating doctor or nurse, make sure you understand:
    • your treatment plan
    • any medications to start or stop
    • which follow-up appointments you need to make with a GP or specialist
    • if or when you might need to return to the Emergency Department.
  • Please ask for a medical certificate, if needed.

If you’re not quite sure whether you need to come to the Emergency Department, you can attend the Hospital’s Medical Centre next door. It is easy to transfer you across to Emergency if the GP feels you require more urgent care.

  • Parking – There is a 15-minute drop-off/pick-up bay outside the Emergency Department, however, spaces are limited. It is best to drop-off patients (or accompany them inside) and park your car in the Hospital’s multi-story carpark on the west side of the Hospital.
  • Refreshments – There is a beverage vending machine inside Emergency, and further vending machines and food outlets in the main entrance of the Hospital (The Atrium). Be sure to check with the Triage Nurse if it is safe for you to eat or drink. Note that there is no after-hours internal access to The Atrium.
  • Facilities – The Hospital has free Wi-Fi, a comfortable waiting room, restrooms, a parents’ room, a free phone, an iPad charging station, and a convenience store and newsagency in the main entrance.

Our Emergency Department has an enthusiastic and experienced Consultant and Nursing team. Many of our doctors work in neighbouring major hospitals, such as North Shore or Westmead Children’s Hospital. They also work for other organisations, including CareFlight and Sydney University.

    • Director
      Dr Andrew Ratchford, MBBS FRCS FRCEM FACEM CCPU
    • Deputy Director
      Dr Michele Franks, MBBS FACEM
    • Nurse Manager
      Jo Watts
    • Directors of Emergency Medical Training
      Dr Tatiana Lowe, MBBS FACEM
      Dr Jeremy Pallot, MBBS CCPU FACEM
    • Director of Research
      Assoc Prof Brian Burns, MBCHb BAO MSc MRCSEd DipSEM DRTM RCSEd FFSEM FACEM
    • Director of Paediatric Emergency Medicine
      Dr Zoe Knights, MBBS FACEM
    • Director of Resuscitation
      Assoc Prof Cliff Reid, BM FACEM FRCEM FRCSEd FRCP(Glasg) FCCM FCCP FFICM FANZCP EDIC Dip IMC RCSEd DRTM RCS Ed DCH CCPU CFEU
  • The Northern Beaches Hospital is located at 105 Frenchs Forest Road (West) Frenchs Forest NSW 2086.
  • The Emergency Department is located on the Hospital’s Northern side on Paperbark Road. Please note: there is no internal access to Emergency from the main Hospital entrance after-hours.
  • Click on our WayFinder Map to view the Hospital grounds.
  • Get directions from your location with the Site Locator.

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