Children's Assessment Unit (Hippos)

The service identifies how best to treat children who have arrived at A&E or Children's Outpatients and need further observation.

It plays a vital part in ensuring that children are seen and treated in the right time, in the right place and by the right teams. This unit helps prevent sick children from being admitted unnecessarily admitted to hospital and from here the decision can be made about whether to admit the patient, transfer them to another hospital, send them home or book them in for further tests.

The Unit allows children to be kept under observation and for investigations to be carried out to better assess their needs and avoid an overnight admission into hospital wherever possible. 

Children and young people are admitted to the unit from the following pathways: 

  • GP referrals including UCC, Children’s Emergency Department (ED), midwives, health visitors, the Community Children’s Nursing Team (Oxleas) or planned reviews.

  • Planned Reviews/ procedures – we provide follow up appointments for children who have been seen in ED or discharged from Safari or Hippo who need to be reviewed by a Consultant before they can be discharged to the care of their GP. Within these planned appointments the child may require blood tests, intravenous or intramuscular medication or imaging. We also provide follow-up appointment for surgical, urology and dermatology patients who will often require repeat blood tests and ultrasounds.  


Children are sent from A&E or Children's Outpatients. The unit is open 8am until Midnight, with admissions closing at 8pm, and runs every day including weekends and bank holidays. 


Children's Assessment Unit Reception: 020 8836 5416/5391

Hippo's Ward Managers:


Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich

"Follow the Hippos!". Children's Assessment Unit is accessed by turning right once through the Entrance to "Children's Unit & Macmillan Brook Unit" then next right to end of corridor to the last ward on the right. The nearest parking is at Car Park 1