Hospital transfers

As part of your child’s ongoing care, your team at the Queensland Children’s Hospital may liaise with your local hospital so your child can complete their treatment closer to home. This is managed by our Children’s Advice and Transportation Coordination Hub (CATCH) which also manages transfer of patients from local hospitals to the Queensland Children’s Hospital when required.

A transfer back to a local hospital is called a ‘back transfer’, which is when your child can be safely transferred back to the nearest paediatric ward once specialist care at the Queensland Children’s Hospital is complete. This transfer commonly uses the Queensland Ambulance Service or a commercial/aeromedical flight (for distances more than 250km).

What are the benefits?

By transferring your child to your local hospital, they will:

What is the process?

Step one

The doctor or team who has treated your child at Queensland Children’s Hospital will contact the paediatrician or specialist at your local hospital. Your doctor will discuss your child’s treatment and on-going care requirements to ensure your local hospital is confident to continue safe care.

Step two

Your child’s doctor will contact the clinical nurses from the Children’s Advice and Transportation Coordination Hub (CATCH) who will liaise with your local hospital to ensure a bed is available for your child.

Step three

Once the CATCH nurse confirms a bed is available and booked for your child, CATCH will determine the safest mode of transport for back transfer. In most cases this will be via the Queensland Ambulance Service.

If your local paediatric service is more than two hours from the Queensland Children’s Hospital, the CATCH nurse may liaise with Retrieval Services Queensland or commercial flight providers to organise transport.

Important to know

  • Your child’s ongoing treatment is our priority and we will back transfer only if it is safe to do so.
  • Your child will only be transferred to your local hospital if it is safe and they have a bed available. If not, your child will continue their care at the Queensland Children’s Hospital until a bed becomes available at your local hospital.
  • Queensland Children’s Hospital health professionals will provide a comprehensive handover about your child’s condition to the doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers at your local hospital.
  • We can arrange back transfer to a private hospital if parents choose to utilise their private health insurance to complete their child’s inpatient care.
  • We encourage you to ask any questions you may have about the back transfer process.


CATCH is based in the Queensland Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane. Its purpose is to:

  • Ensure health care providers in metropolitan, regional, remote and rural areas have access to specialist paediatric advice – this can be via telephone, video conferencing and email.
  • Help coordinate the transport of children from the Queensland Children’s Hospital to other hospitals in Queensland and northern New South Wales.
  • Assist with the referral of patients who present at the Queensland Children’s Hospital Emergency department and do not require specialised care to their closest hospital within the greater Brisbane metropolitan area, including providing a care plan for ongoing local management.

Contact us

Children’s Advice and Transport Coordination Hub
Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane

t: 07 3068 4510 (everyday between 7am and 11pm)