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Improvements to children's services

Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening to children’s services at Ealing Hospital?

  • - Changes to some children’s services at Ealing Hospital were made on 30 June 2016.
  • - The children’s overnight ward (Charlie Chaplin) is closing and ambulances will stop taking children to Ealing A&E.


Will all services for children close at Ealing?

  • - No, in fact the majority of services will be staying. Along with urgent care, all other children’s services including the day care unit and outpatient appointments, services for children with additional needs or long-term conditions (such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy) and child and adolescent mental health services will remain on the Ealing Hospital site.
  • - New services are also being introduced at Ealing Hospital so that, although the children’s ward will be closed, children can continue to be treated either at the hospital or in the community. 
  • - A new Rapid Access Clinic is providing GPs in the Ealing area with expert advice on children’s health and access to specialist appointments.
  • - The Children’s Community Nursing Team will move to Ealing Hospital ensuring that care in hospital and in the community is coordinated.


Why were these changes made?

  • - These changes are about improving children’s care across the whole of North West London, by providing better access to more specialist senior doctors’ during the day and night. This will improve the quality of clinical care and patient experience and get children back to health more quickly.
  • - Along with improvements in care, all five children’s A&E departments at: West Middlesex, Hillingdon, Northwick Park, Chelsea and Westminster and St Mary’s hospitals have had significant investment, refurbishment and expansion. 
  • - The changes have also seen the introduction of paediatric assessment units (PAUs) on four sites. The PAUs will provide care in a more appropriate setting than A&E, for those that need assessment and treatment but don’t require an admission into hospital. They will also reduce the time that these patients wait to receive care when they arrive at an A&E.


What will this mean for children who use the services at Ealing Hospital?

  • - This will mean that if a child needs emergency or overnight care in a hospital they will be treated at one of five other hospital sites in North West London with a children’s ward:
    • Hillingdon 
    • West Middlesex 
    • St Mary’s
    • Northwick Park
    • Chelsea and Westminster. 


How will parents/carers know which hospital to go to?

  • - All parents/carers of patients with long-term chronic conditions and those that regularly use the children’s ward at Ealing Hospital will have their future care discussed with them, so you will know where to go and what to do. 
  • - Parents/carers can either choose to: 
    • have just inpatient care transferred to another hospital and continue to have outpatient appointments at Ealing Hospital; or
    • have all of their care transferred to another hospital, including out-patient appointments.


What will happen children’s medical records?

  • - Children’s medical records will be made available at the hospital they choose to have their child’s care transferred to.


Will GPs know where children’s care has been transferred to?

  • - Ealing Hospital staff will inform each child’s GP of where their future care has been transferred to.


Isn’t this all a bit risky, with children having to travel further when they are really sick?

  • - No. Ambulances have trained staff to care for all patients, including children, while they are in transit and being transported to a hospital appropriate for their needs.
  • - If a child is taken directly to Ealing Hospital by their parents, emergency staff will assess and stabilise a child before they are transferred to the hospital appropriate for their needs.


Travel information for parents 

  • - If a child needs to receive care at another site then travel information sheets will be available if needed.


Will parents be able to stay with their child at all the hospital sites?

  • - Yes, an adult will always be able to stay with a child while in hospital.


What will happen in an emergency?

  • - In an emergency, parents/carers who know their child’s care has been transferred to another hospital can either make their way to their new hospital or call 999 for an ambulance.


What about urgent care? 

  • - Urgent care for children will still be available 24 hours a day at Ealing Hospital through the urgent care centre (UCC). The majority of children who are currently brought to Ealing Hospital needing immediate same day care are treated in the urgent care centre and this will continue.


Does this apply to a child needing urgent mental health care?

  • - Yes. Children will still be seen in the UCC and in an emergency call 999.


CAMH out-of-hours helpline
For out-of-hours advice you can also call the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) helpline: 0300 1234 244 (open Monday to Friday: 4.30pm to midnight; weekends and bank holidays: 9am to midnight).

This nurse-led service operates throughout Ealing, providing advice, assessment and if needed, emergency intervention.


What happens if a child arrives at Ealing urgent care centre and needing more specialist care than they can provide?

  • - All children that arrive at Ealing’s UCC are medically assessed. If a child needs more specialist care than the UCC can provide, they will be looked after by doctors and nurses and transferred to another hospital with an adult/parent/carer. Appropriate transport will be arranged. 
  • - The booklet Changes to children’s services at Ealing Hospital explains more. 


What is the difference between urgent and emergency care – a quick guide

Urgent care

Emergency care

Ealing Hospital’s urgent care centre provides 24/7 urgent care, treating children and adults with minor illnesses and injuries that are urgent but not life-threatening, for example:

  • - sprains and strains
  • - minor burns to small areas
  • - minor cuts including those needing stitches
  • - common infections such as chest, ear or throat
  • - minor broken bones such as toes, ankles, wrists, fingers or collarbone.


If a child needs more specialist care than the urgent care centre can provide, they will be safely transferred to another hospital.

Accident and Emergency departments (A&E) provide emergency care for major, life-threatening illnesses and injuries, which may result in a stay in hospital, for example:

  • - drowsiness and loss of consciousness
  • - severe chest or tummy pain
  • - breathing difficulties
  • - choking
  • - severe non-stop bleeding
  • - swallowing of chemicals
  • - having fits
  • - badly broken bones, including legs
  • - bad burns
  • - a rash that doesn’t disappear under the pressure of a glass.


If your child is suffering from any of the above, you should dial 999 immediately for an ambulance.

Note: This is a list of some examples, if your child needs emergency help dial 999.


Note: This applies to mental health issues as well. Children will still be seen in the UCC and in an emergency call 999.


What will happen to A&E at Ealing Hospital?

  • - The A&E at Ealing will remain open to treat adults; it will continue accepting ambulances and treat the range of existing emergencies it currently provides for adults.