Frequently Asked Questions

What has changed at Ealing Hospital?

  • The children’s overnight ward (Charlie Chaplin) has closed and ambulances no longer take children to Ealing A&E.

Have all services for children at Ealing closed?

  • No, in fact the majority of services have stayed. 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 remain on the Ealing Hospital site.
  • New services have also been introduced at Ealing Hospital so that, although the children’s ward is closed, children can continue to be treated either at the hospital or in the community. 
  • A 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 have moved 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 also reduce the time that these patients wait to receive care when they arrive at an A&E.

If a child needs emergency or overnight care in North West London where will they be treated? 

  • 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. 

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 

Can parents stay with their child at all North West London hospital sites?

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

What happens 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 is 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.

What about children needing urgent mental healthcare?

Children can be seen in the UCC, 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 UCC and needs 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 are looked after by doctors and nurses and transferred to another hospital with an adult/parent/carer. Appropriate transport is 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 also applies to mental health issues. Children will still be seen in the UCC, in an emergency call 999.

Will there be further changes to A&E at Ealing Hospital?

  • The A&E at Ealing Hospital accepts ambulances and remains open to treat adults. ​
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