Emergencies and Hospitals
Find a hospital in your area
You can find a hospital in your area by searching google maps or looking in the local phone book under Health Ministry of NSW
An emergency can happen anywhere at any time. It could happen to you, someone close to you or someone you don’t know but just happen to be near.
It could be:
- a fire or an explosion
- an accident at work, in the home or in a car
- an incident in the water at the beach or swimming pool
- becoming really sick, collapsing or stopping breathing
- getting seriously injured or maimed
If you’re involved in or see an emergency call the emergency number 000. This number takes you to the emergency service no matter where you are throughout Australia and it is free from any phone. If you’re in an area where you have no mobile phone range dial 112 and as long as the phone is on it will connect you to the emergency services.
When you are connected to the operator try and stay calm and ask for the emergency service that is needed, i.e. Ambulance, Fire or Police. Once connected to the this operator, you will then be asked for the following information:
1. What is the exact address of the emergency? The nearest cross street and if you live in a rural area or an area that is difficult to find, use landmarks, for example, “the green house with the white picket fence and tall tree at the side.”
2. What is your name (the person calling) and the phone number you are calling from?
3. What is the problem – tell exactly what happened? How many people are hurt and how are they hurt?
4. How old is the person/people? Are they awake or unconscious? Are they breathing or blue?
Once you have answered these questions, the first available service will be sent. You will then be asked further questions and the operator will give you instructions on what you may be able to do while you wait for the service to arrive.
Emergency Departments are a part of most public hospitals across NSW and are open 24 hours a day. If you get really sick or badly hurt you can go to a hospital Emergency Department for urgent treatment. There’s no need to make an appointment, you can just turn up by car, public transport, walk in off the street or you may arrive by ambulance.
Emergency Departments are always open and are very busy places, but will never turn away people who are seriously ill or have a life-threatening situation.
Minor illnesses or injuries are best treated by your local family doctor or after hours Medical Centre.
What happens when you go to the Emergency department
The first person you will see in Emergency is the reception clerk. They will take your personal contact details and your Medicare card number and direct you to the Triage Nurse. The Triage Nurse is experienced in working out your condition and how urgent it is.
Very sick patients will always be seen as soon as possible and conditions that are less urgent may have to wait for quite some time in the waiting room.
- If your condition gets worse while you are waiting, tell the Triage Nurse immediately.
- If you think your condition can be treated by your local doctor, ask the Triage Nurse for advice.
- If you decide not to wait, tell the Triage Nurse.
When you see a doctor they will assess your condition and will organise further tests like x-rays, scans or blood tests if necessary. The doctor will decide whether you need to be admitted to stay in the hospital for surgery/treatment or they will let you know what care or treatment you need. If you don’t understand what’s happening ASK questions.
Sometimes people may be transferred by ambulance to another hospital that has a better range of services available to treat your condition.
A doctor or nurse will let you know if and when you are ok to go home. Before you leave Emergency you will be given instructions on after care. Make sure that you understand about your treatment and any medications you may need to take.
You may also need a medical certificate for your employer and/or a letter for your doctor. Again, if there is anything you don’t understand, or any questions you have, be sure to ASK before you leave.
Hospital treatment or surgery
Sometimes you may have a condition that means you need to go to hospital for treatment or surgery. Your local doctor will refer you to a specialist who will decide if you need to be admitted to the hospital. If it is not an emergency, you will be booked in for treatment at a later date.
The specialist will fill out a Recommendation for Admission form to be delivered to the hospital by them or you. Hospital staff will then contact you with pre-admission instructions. The staff with give you an exact date of when you will be admitted. They will try and give at least two weeks’ notice of the admission date.
Day only admission is when a person gets admitted to the hospital, has the surgery and goes home on the very same day.
Day of surgery admission means that a person gets admitted to hospital, has the surgery on that day and stays in hospital after the operation for at least one night or maybe more.
Before having your surgery you will usually need to attend a pre-admission clinic where the hospital staff will provide you with information about the surgery and after care.
Sometimes you may need to be admitted before the planned day of surgery for pre-testing to prepare you for surgery. Your doctor will let you know the arrangements for this type of admission to hospital.
When you are in hospital and after your treatment or surgery you may be referred to another health professional to help your recovery. The professional service could be physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy, social work, podiatry, radiology, audiology, nutrition, and orthopedics.
When you are discharged from hospital make sure you get the letter for the referred health service. Check that you understand what you need to do at home, any medications you may need to take and when you need to see your doctor again for a check up.