Acute Children's Hospital Service

Acute Children's Inpatient Services

Children's services are a large and advanced department, which delivers a diverse range of services to a large population within West Hertfordshire. The large list of consultants, who work within a wide range of sub-specialties, allows a comprehensive list of services to be provided to some of the most vulnerable patients within our community; from premature or sick babies to children with life threatening conditions.

Types of care provided includes: acute admissions for sick or injured children and adolescents, recovery following emergency surgery, recovery following planned surgery or planned care requiring an overnight stay.

Important Contact Information:

Wards/Units

Children's services operates 2 wards, both now based at Watford General Hospital within the maternity block.

Starfish Ward

Starfish Ward deals with emergency admissions.
» read more about Starfish Ward

Safari Children's Day Unit.

The Safari Day Unit is now based at Watford but used to be based at Hemel Hempstead Hospital), is known as the Safari Children's Day Unit.
» read more about Safari Children's Day Unit

2 of the consultants working within the department have neonatal medicine as their sub-specialty. This allows the hospital to run a level 2 neonatal unit, which provides care to newborn babies, and babies requiring special care.


Outpatients Clinics

Children's Outpatients services are delivered by clinics based on all three sites (St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford) in the Trust. Watford General and Hemel Hempstead General Hospitals have sessions dedicated to providing paediatric outpatients clinics. Paediatric clinics at St Albans City Hospital are run at the same time as clinics for other specialties.

» Read more about Outpatients Clinics

A Paediatric Oncology Shared Care Unit operates at Watford General Hospital. This allows children who are suspected of suffering from cancer to be referred to hospitals, generally in London, which are better able to diagnose their condition and prescribe treatment. However, instead of having to go back to travel to other hospitals to receive that treatment, Watford General is able to provide it.


Children's Emergency Department – Watford

The Children's Emergency Department is a dedicated unit just for children, where they can be assessed and treated in a safe and friendly environment. The unit is managed and run by a team of emergency doctors and Children's doctors & nurses working in partnership, to provide the best care for your child.
» Read more about the Children's Emergency Department

Green Card initiative

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has set up a scheme to facilitate the rapid treatment of children suffering from chronic conditions. Any child who qualifies for this scheme is given a ‘Green ‘Card’ which they should carry with them at all times.

If they arrive at Accident and Emergency they present their Green Card, which will alert the staff there that they are currently receiving care of some kind by the Trust. This enables the correct type of treatment to be given promptly, and reduces risks to the patient.

Paediatric Nurse Rotation Scheme

Historically the paediatric department had difficulties with retaining its newly qualified nursing staff. In recent times a rotation scheme was set up for all newly qualified paediatric nurses which has allowed them to gain experience in all areas and specialties within paediatrics.

This scheme results in nurses gaining a better understanding of how the department works and how specialties can best work together. This leads to a better standard of care for patients and allows for greater scope in personal development for the nurses. Therefore, our nurses feel more valued and stay more highly motivated, and as a result the problems associated with recruiting and retaining staff have been eased.

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