Health Services

Emergency Department

Emergency departments work on a triage system. This means that when you arrive, a medical assessment is carried out to see how urgently you need medical care. We will see and treat everyone who presents to the emergency department, starting with the sickest people first.

The Ipswich, Boonah, Gatton, Laidley and Esk emergency departments are open to the public 24 hours a day seven days a week for the assessment and treatment of patients with emergency conditions.

When to go to an emergency department

Go to the emergency department if you are seriously injured or in need of urgent medical help.

In an emergency, call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

If you're not sure whether to go to an emergency department call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for advice, 24 hours a day, or see your doctor.

Read more about when to go to the emergency department on the Queensland Health website.

What is the triage system?

The first triage system was developed at Ipswich Hospital and the concept is now used worldwide. It exists to ensure the sickest people are treated first. While all patients at emergency departments may be experiencing serious illness or injury, those with life-threatening and severe conditions must be treated first. You will be given a rating from 1 to 5.

• Rating 1: immediately life-threatening patients: critical injury or cardiac arrest.

• Rating 2: imminently life-threatening patients: critical illness, very severe pain, have serious chest pains, difficulty in breathing or severe fractures.

• Rating 3: potentially life threatened patients: severe illness, bleeding heavily from cuts, have major fractures, dehydrated.

• Rating 4: potentially serious patients: less severe symptoms or injuries, such as foreign body in the eye, sprained ankle, migraine or earache.

• Rating 5: less urgent patients: minor illnesses or symptoms, rashes, minor aches and pains. Please note: You may consider presenting to the Minor Injury and Illness Clinic at Ripley Satellite Hospital for rating 4 and 5 Ripley Satellite Hospital | West Moreton Health

What to bring

If you are presenting  to the emergency department please bring:

  • A list of all the medicines you are currently taking. If you do not have a list simply bring your medicines with you.
  • any relevant x-rays, scans, other test results
  • The name and phone number of your usual general practitioner (GP) or medical centre.
  • Your Medicare card or passport (if you are not an Australian citizen).
  • A list of your allergies.
  • Your Medalert bracelet (if you have one)
  • food, bottles, nappies, extra clothing and a toy for babies and children.
How much will it cost?

Emergency medical treatment is free if you have a Medicare card. You may have to pay for treatment if you haven’t got a Medicare card.

Find out more about the cost to access public health services.

    Bringing a child to the emergency department

    Ipswich Hospital has a dedicated paediatric emergency department, with its own dedicated waiting room.

    If you are bringing your child to the emergency department, please present to the staff at the front desk to provide information.

    Staff will ask questions about your child’s symptoms or injury to decide how quickly they need to be seen by a doctor.

    You need to tell us if your child:

    • is in pain, so we can help make them feel better while they wait,
    • had any medication, including paracetamol or ibuprofen in the past 24 hours,
    • has any known allergies.