Emergency (Adult)

The Emergency Department (ED) at The Prince Charles Hospital is a large emergency centre, which aims to provide world-class care to patients who present to us. We operate 24 hours a day, providing specialised care to adult patients with a serious illness or injury.

Our services

We provide emergency medical services to patients needing urgent care for a wide range of conditions. We also have a special expertise in caring for adults with:

  • heart conditions
  • lung conditions
  • general medical and surgical conditions
  • psychiatric conditions
  • care of the elderly including hip fractures.

We have a separate Children’s Emergency Department with ward facilities.

Who we see

We see all patients who present to us. If you require an ambulance, call triple zero (000). The ambulance staff will help make the decision about which hospital to take you to. They may decide at times to transport you to other hospitals so you can directly access specific care (e.g. the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Emergency Department, if you have a significant burn or pregnancy-related concerns).

Getting here

We have a designated drop off and pick up zone at the front of Emergency with a maximum stay of 20 minutes. Our parking and transport page has more information about long stay parking at the hospital.

How to access this service

You do not need a referral letter from your doctor to access this service.

What to bring

Each time you visit us
  • Your Medicare card
  • Private health insurance card (if you have one)
  • Health Care Card and/or concession card (if you have one)
  • Current medications (prescription, over the counter and herbal medicine)
  • Relevant x-rays, scans or any other test results or reports
  • Glasses, hearing and mobility aids
  • Your passport (if you’re not Medicare eligible or an Australian citizen)
  • Discharge information from previous admissions
Staying overnight or longer
  • A dressing gown or cardigan, sleepwear or comfortable day clothes
  • Slippers and shoes (low heel, closed-in, non-slip, adjustable and firm fitting around the foot)
  • Your toiletries and personal items
  • Copy of Advanced Healthcare Directive or Enduring Power of Attorney if you have one
  • Something to read or do during your stay
  • Medical devices required for your care (e.g. CPAP machine)
  • Do not bring large amounts of cash or valuables such as jewellery, watches or other items of value to you

When you arrive

On arrival, your symptoms will be assessed by an experienced emergency nurse and triaged in order of priority. We try our best to see every patient within a timely manner. Some patients who are more unwell may be seen ahead of you and this may result in an unpredictable waiting period. We ask that you be patient while we deliver the best possible care to all our patients. If your condition worsens or if you have any concerns, please alert the nurse.

Are you visiting from overseas?

If you are visiting from another country and require medical attention your may be billed for the cost of treatment.

Private health insurance

If you have private health insurance cover and would like to use it, you can choose to be treated as a private patient. This will not incur excess or affect your insurance premium. If you wish to be treated in a separate private health facility, we can facilitate this transfer. Please note, this option may incur excess depending on your level of cover.

Appropriate behaviour

The safety of our staff and patients is top priority. In accordance with Queensland Health policy, we do not tolerate any form of aggressive or abusive behaviour. Any audio or visual recording without permission is strictly prohibited.

Research in ED

You may be asked if you are happy to participate in current research studies when attending as a patient. We will attempt to provide you with all the information you need. You will have time to read about the research and ask questions. Involvement in research is voluntary and you may withdraw from participation at any time.

Discharge and follow up care

When you are discharged from Emergency or the hospital, it is important to have a responsible adult carer to take you home. Before discharge, you should be given a GP letter detailing your medical condition and appropriate follow up plan. You may also be given a prescription for medication or a referral letter to another specialist.

Frequently asked questions

If you do not need urgent care, visiting your local doctor or an after-hours medical centre may be an option. This may mean a shorter waiting period and allows you to see the same doctor for better continuity of care.

There are also phone and web services available:

  • 13 HEALTH is a Queensland Health hotline for advice on healthcare matters 24 hours a day.
  • Queensland Poisons Information Centre for advice on poisoning incidents 24 hours a day. Phone: 131 126.
  • Lifeline is a confidential crisis support service operating 24 hours a day. Phone: 13 11 14 (calls from mobiles are free).
  • 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 22 55) for mental health assistance.

Certain tests or procedures require patients to fast, which means no eating or drinking. As a general rule, please do not eat or drink before talking to the medical or nursing staff. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from fasting, please speak to staff.

We understand the importance of support from family and friends during this difficult time. Sometimes, we may need to limit the number of visitors in the ED due to overcrowding. This will ensure your loved one receives the best possible care. You may nominate one family member as the contact person to ensure consistent information is provided.

The National Health Service Directory provides information about which GPs, Pharmacists etc are open now. This can be helpful to identify GPs open in evenings and at weekends.

Go to www.nhsd.com.au, type in your post code or suburb, and Click on “Open Now” tab  to find the services open now in your area. You will need to call if they have any appointments available before visiting them.

Adult Emergency

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Contact us

Adult Emergency Department
Location: Ground floor, Main Building
Phone: (07) 3139 4000
Open: 24/7

Need help outside hours?

For non-urgent medical issues call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit your GP.

In an emergency call 000.

Refer a patient

GPs and specialists in the community and in other hospitals can refer a patient by calling the emergency physician “on the floor” via hospital switch on (07) 3139 4000.

Health professionals

Over 55,000 patients visit our ED a year with nearly 35% of patients admitted to the hospital from emergency annually.

We are one of the busiest EDs in Queensland, treating patients from Brisbane’s northern suburbs, across the state and northern New South Wales. The Prince Charles Hospital is a 630 beds capacity facility and is a major quaternary referral centre  for cardiothoracic cases .

We have:

  • 37 treatment spaces
  • 6 resuscitation rooms
  • 18 acute beds including an isolation room
  • 9 short stay beds and 4 short stay recliners
  • plaster room
  • 2 bed procedure room
  • social work support
  • physiotherapy support
  • 24 hour cardiac angiography service
  • radiology (x-ray, CT, ultrasound) next to the department
  • helipad
  • acute care mental health service with inpatient facility.