Paediatric patient Koben Lowndes with emergency department nurse Kate Fuller and Ben McKenzie. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

A dedicated paediatric hub opened in Bendigo Health’s emergency department on Monday.

All children under the age of 16 who present at the ED will go through the area, which is designed to create a safer, more child-friendly space for patients.

Bendigo Health’s Robyn Lindsay said the hub, which has three beds, will have a dedicated paediatric in-reach nurse and a paediatric trained nurse who work in the ED.

“More than 52,000 people present to Bendigo Health’s emergency department each year and one in five are aged under 16,” she said.

“Emergency departments are alien to a lot of people, especially children. The paediatric model of care will make the emergency department safer, more child friendly for treatment and will offer a quieter, more comfortable setting for patients.

“The most common things children present with are soft tissue injuries, broken bones and respiratory illnesses like asthma and gastro.”

Seventy staff from the ED, intensive care unit and children’s ward have been trained in preparation for the opening of the paediatric hub.

The training provided education on burns, children oncology, paediatric trauma and paediatric specific procedures.

The hub is an adapted version of the model of care at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

The hub is located off the paediatric waiting room and next to the paediatric treatment room. Patients will still present to triage in the ED.

The opening of new beds takes the total of operational beds in Bendigo Hospital’s emergency department to 17.