Emergency Department

In the case of an emergency call 000

St Vincent’s Hospital is a major tertiary referral and teaching Hospital. The Emergency Department is a very busy, inner city trauma and emergency centre. Approximately 42,000 patients present each year, of these, 14,700 patients are brought by ambulance, 46% of patients that present to the Emergency Department are admitted. Although we see and treat any immediately life threatening emergency we do not otherwise usually manage paediatrics or routine obstetrics.
The Emergency Department sees and treats a variety of injuries, illnesses and other medical conditions and health concerns with a high proportion of high acuity presentations such as traumatic injury, severe cardiac conditions, respiratory illnesses and toxicological emergencies.
National Triage Scale
All patients presenting to the Emergency Department should first see the Triage Nurse. The Triage Nurse will take a brief history and if required, record vital signs and order initial tests. Each patient is triaged using the National Triage Scale:
Category 1: Immediate Resuscitation
Category 2: Emergency
Category 3: Urgent
Category 4: Semi-urgent
Category 5: Non-urgent


Patients are seen in order of seriousness of the presenting medical problem and critically ill patients are always seen before less serious conditions. These types of presentations are unpredictable and require immediate medical attention and may impact on waiting time. If your symptoms worsen whilst waiting, please inform the Triage Nurse.  Read more - NSW Health Emergency Information.

Administration Procedures
The Administration staff are non-clinical staff responsible for registering information which includes your identity, Medicare and private health status, contact details as well as details of your local doctor and next of kin and employment details should it be a work related presentation. The Administration staff also deal with issues relating to charges that may be incurred, in particular for visitors from overseas.

Assessment & Tests
When you are in a treatment area you will be assessed by both nursing and medical staff. The doctor will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination to assess your medical problem. It may be necessary to perform blood tests, imaging or other testing to determine the extent of the problem. The results of these tests are not often immediate as other Departments within the Hospital need to process and evaluate the results which are then communicated to the Emergency Department Medical staff. A single patient may need attention from several staff members over many hours.

If you do not require an admission to a Ward, and when your emergency treatment has been completed and discussion in regard to any follow-up care has occurred, staff will inform you that you may now leave the Emergency Department and return home.

Admission to Hospital
If your management may require admission to Hospital, further evaluation by the Registrar of the admitting Physician or Surgeon may need to occur while you are in the Emergency Department before being admitted. When a decision to admit occurs, it then requires a bed to be arranged on the appropriate Ward. As this type of admission is not pre-arranged, it may take time for a bed to be available on a ward appropriate to your condition, during this time you will be continued to be cared for by Emergency Department staff.

Teaching Hospital
As a teaching hospital, Interns, Resident Medical Officers and Emergency Registrars work and train in the Emergency Department under the supervision of Specialist Emergency Medicine Consultants. The Emergency Department is accredited for 2 years for Advanced Emergency Medicine Training through the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. We are also involved in teaching medical and nursing students from a number of institutions these include, the University of New South Wales and University of Notre Dame.

Education, process review and improvement is a prime function of the senior nursing, medical and management roles within the Emergency Department. We aim to be guided by the mission, vision and values of the Sisters of Charity and the Sisters of Mercy, the founding congregations of St Vincents & Mater Health.


COMET (Community Outreach Medical Emergency Team)
COMET, a partnership between Community Health Services and the Emergency Department, commenced in March 2007. The team provides specialised care to patients presenting at the Emergency Department who are assessed to require medical treatment that can occur in the community.

The introduction of COMET has eased pressure on the Emergency Department, reduced admissions and improved patient care.

Phone:  (02) 8382 1111