Changes to child health check-ups in the South West

Child developmental health check-ups provided by GP down south will be no more, following changes within the WA Country Health Service. Image Sophie Elliott.
Child developmental health check-ups provided by GP down south will be no more, following changes within the WA Country Health Service. Image Sophie Elliott.

GP down south chief executive officer Amanda Poller has reassured South West parents that their children will still have access to developmental health checks.

Ms Poller addressed concerns following the announcement that the health check-ups will now be directly delivered by WA Country Health Service in 2018.

For the last four years, GP down south has delivered the WACHS funded program.

Child health services have undergone significant reform within WACHS, and new models of care are being introduced following the launch of the Healthy Country Kids Strategy and new Statewide Child Health Service in July.

A WACHS spokesperson confirmed their intention to deliver this new strategy, which focuses on improved access and follow up of vulnerable families and children, with GPds across the South West.

“We confirm we are in discussion with GPds for a new grant agreement to commence from January 1,” they said.

​WACHS South West regional director Kerry Winsor said WACHS was looking forward to continuing to work with GPds on delivering high standard child health services in the region.

Ms Poller assured the community the changes were not to  do with quality of service from GPds, but simply a  change of strategic direction from WACHS.

The changes will result in six job losses for community child health nurses employed by GPds.

Ms Poller said the not-for-profit organisation relied on funding from the state or federal government to deliver programs.

“Our reality is we get fixed term contracts to deliver services and sometimes they are not renewed,” she said.

She praised the team of child health nurses for their successful service delivery for the past four years.

The changes will impact Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Augusta, Australind and Eaton.

GP down south will provide its last child health clinic on December 15.

Parents who want to make child health appointments from December 15 can call WACHS on 1800 457 949.