What to do if your child is unwell

There is no longer inpatient (overnight) care for children at Friarage Hospital so it is important you know what to do if your child is unwell.

The information on this page will help you to make the right choices if you are not sure where to go for treatment.

If you think an illness or injury is serious then do not hesitate to contact 999 straight away!

Call your GP or NHS 111 if your child:


  • is generally feeling unwell and has a temperature
  • has a stomach upset
  • has a skin rash

Your first point of contact should always be your GP who can offer advice and treatment and, where necessary, refer you to other more appropriate services.

This could include the short-stay paediatric assessment unit (SSPAU) at the Friarage Hospital or if your child needs to be admitted to hospital, they will be directed to The James Cook University Hospital, Darlington Memorial Hospital or another hospital depending on where they live.

If your GP surgery is closed, parents and carers should contact NHS 111, who will assess your child and direct you to the local service that can help the best.

Call 999 if your child


  • has severe breathing difficulties
  • has seizures
  • has suffered severe trauma (eg a head injury or blood loss)
  • is unconscious


Only come to the Friarage A&E if your child:

Children hospital2

  • has a minor injury (such as sprains or cuts)
  • has minor burns
  • has minor injuries from slips, trips or falls

Currently we see thousands of children at the hospital for minor injuries and these arrangements will not change.

Does this mean I can no longer take my child to accident and emergency at the Friarage Hospital?

If you child is unwell you should not bring them to the accident and emergency department at the Friarage Hospital.

Arrangements for children with major injuries remain unchanged – the ambulance by-passes the Friarage and goes straight to The James Cook University Hospital.

The vast majority of children who attend the Friarage Hospital have minor injuries, so if your child has a sprain or cuts and bruises they will still be able to go to the Friarage.

What if I take them anyway? Will they be refused treatment?

The changes to children’s services mean there will no children’s doctors in the hospital at night. It is these consultants, the accident and emergency staff call on if they need help.

As the Friarage Hospital will no longer have the facilities to care for children overnight, the accident and emergency department is no longer the right place to bring sick children. We think it’s really important your child gets the best care and treatment they need, in the right place first time and we’ve produced a leaflet to help ensure you know what to do if they have an illness or injury.

If you are not sure where you should go please contact your GP or NHS 111 for advice. If your child is unwell do not bring them to accident and emergency at the Friarage Hospital.

Patient scenarios Children’s services Assessment unit Open access Children’s FAQs

Changes to children’s services – what to do if your child is unwell(518kb)
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