A new medical assessment unit (MAU) has opened at Sydney Children’s Hospital in Australia to reduce emergency department (ED) waiting times for frequent patients with chronic illnesses.

Children with fever and asthma will be first evaluated by ED staff and immediately transferred to the MAU for comprehensive assessment, treatment and short admission.

The A$2.1m MAU features a team of highly specialised doctors, nurses and allied medical staff working closely with the ED, the New South Wales Government said.

With the establishment of the MAU, Sydney Hospital’s staff will be able to focus on children with major traumas and life-threatening diseases, ensuring children are moved through the system quickly.

The first four beds of the hospital’s MAU are now operational and another four will open next week, the government said.