When to visit an emergency department
- Life-threatening conditions – call 000 (triple zero) and ask for an ambulance
- Non-life-threatening conditions – consider seeking phone advice first.
Locations of emergency departments in Tasmania
In Tasmania, you can get emergency care in all public hospitals and in some private hospitals.
Public hospital emergency departments
- Royal Hobart Hospital
- Launceston General Hospital
- Mersey Community Hospital
- North West Regional Hospital
Private hospital emergency departments
Some private hospitals have Emergency Departments available to everyone at a cost.
Other services that can help you in an emergency
Free health advice, 24-hours a day:
Tas After Hours
For medical care at night or on the weekend, visit the Tas After Hours website.
Poisons Information Centre
If you think someone has taken an overdose, made an error with medicine or been poisoned:
Mental health support
If you need to talk to someone at any time, please call a crisis support service:
- Access Mental Health - Helpline: call 1800 332 388 any time
- Lifeline: call 13 11 14 any time
- Other crisis support helplines
Preparing to visit the emergency department
- In most cases you can bring one person to come to support you. Please ensure your children are accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
- Please don't eat or drink anything before coming in case you need tests or surgery. These may require you to have an empty stomach.
- Bring your food with you and check with staff before eating it.
What to bring with you
- A list of your medications or the medications themselves.
- Your GP’s details if you have one.
- Your Medicare card (or your passport if you are not an Australian citizen).
- Your pension or concession card (if you have one).
- Your private health insurance details (if you have any).
- Food, bottles, nappies, extra clothing and a toy if you are bringing babies or children.
- A book, magazine or something to entertain you and your children while you wait.
- Money for a taxi home if you are arriving by ambulance.
- Please try not to bring valuables other than your mobile phone.
What happens when you arrive
Please see the triage nurse first. They will ask you some questions and may examine you. They work out which patients need to be seen first and in what order. It is important to tell the triage nurse the following:
- if a GP or other health professional asked you to attend the emergency department
- any medications you or your children are taking
- any allergies you or your children may have
- any immunisations (vaccines) that you or your child have had
- if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- if you have recently travelled overseas
- if you need an interpreter.
After you have seen the triage nurse you will register with one of the clerical staff. They will ask you for your:
- contact details for you and your next of kin
- GP's contact details
- Medicare card (or passport if you are not an Australian citizen)
- private health insurance details (if you have any)
- your preferred language
- your cultural and religious background.
How long you may have to wait
The emergency department is a busy place. Although we do our best to see you as soon as possible, sometimes you will have to wait.
- Patients are seen in order of the urgency of care they require, not in order of arrival.
- Arriving by ambulance or being sent to the emergency department by a health professional won't change how quickly you are seen.
- Even if the waiting room does not appear busy, it may be very busy inside the emergency department.
- If you are feeling worse or are in pain while you wait, please tell the triage nurse.
- If you feel better or want to see your GP instead, you can leave at any time. Please talk with the triage nurse before leaving.
What happens when you are getting treated
- Often a nurse will begin your assessment and treatment before you see a doctor.
- Once you have been allocated a cubicle you may be asked to undress and change into a gown.
- Your assessment may require tests such as blood tests and x-rays.
- Please be aware that your treatment time will take longer than a visit to a GP as you may be waiting for test results and to be seen by different people.
- Sometimes staff may be called away to treat a life-threatening emergency or more urgent case.
- You will be involved in decisions about your treatment. Please ask if you don’t understand what is happening at any time.
- You may be admitted even if only a brief stay is required.
- If a longer stay is required, you will be admitted to a hospital ward under the care of a treating team.
Other things to know about visiting an emergency department
Eating and drinking
Please check with the triage nurse before you eat or drink anything. Some surgeries and tests require you to have an empty stomach.
Mobile phones can be used in the emergency department. However, for privacy, no photos or videos can be taken at any time.
Smoking is not permitted in the hospital or anywhere on hospital grounds, including the ramp in front of the Emergency Department. If you need help with quitting smoking, find out more here.
Belongings and valuables
You must take care of things you bring with you. These include valuable items like jewellery, money, watches and phones. The hospital is not responsible if your things are lost, damaged or stolen.
Safety and behaviour
Threatening, abusive or violent behaviour is not tolerated. You will be asked to leave by security staff or the police.
The safety of our patients, visitors and staff is very important and by restricting visitors we are taking measures that align with public health advice to prevent the potential spread and impact of COVID-19. Each hospital page will provide the latest information.
Please ensure your children are always be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
Language and cultural services
Please tell staff on arrival if:
- you need an interpreter
- are deaf or hard of hearing
- are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent
- are a refugee or migrant.
What happens after your visit
Most people can go home once their treatment in the emergency department is complete.
Please ensure you:
- understand the treatment you were given and what ongoing treatment you require
- know when you need to see a health professional again and who (such as your GP, a specialist or an outpatient clinic)
- have obtained a medical or workers compensation certificate if you need one
- have taken all your belongings with you.
You need to arrange your own transport home. Ambulances cannot take you. Please arrange to have someone collect you or you can book a taxi.
After your visit
- Your GP should receive an electronic summary of your visit soon after you leave.
- Sometimes you will be recommended to have further tests (for example blood tests or x-rays).
How much emergency department treatment costs
- Treatment is free to Medicare cardholders.
- You may have to pay for services if you do not hold a Medicare card.
- Visitors from some countries can also access free emergency department treatment with their passports. Find out which countries and more at Services Australia.