December 2, 2019
A temporary Child Development Clinical Nurse Consultant has been hired by the Darling Downs Child Health Service.
Natalie Rummell will be based at Toowoomba Hospital but will be working across the Darling Downs Health region – which includes the South Burnett – for the next 12 months.
A Darling Downs Health spokesperson said Ms Rummell would provide direct care to children and families and work closely with paediatricians and other clinicians to offer a service that focuses on early assessment and intervention.
Executive Director Nursing and Midwifery Services Andrea Nagle said families with parenting and behavioural concerns were the most common referral to the Darling Downs Health Child Development Service, which could now provide specialist skills to effectively assess and manage these cases.
“Many inequalities start in early childhood and increase over time, impacting negatively on a child’s health, development and wellbeing,” Ms Nagle said.
“This new program aims to help all families with children at risk of poor developmental outcomes to receive support and care to achieve the best possible health and wellbeing.
“By developing this model of care and instigating a framework around this new program, the role of Child Development Clinical Nurse Consultant could be replicated across the State, improving access to services for all Queensland children and families.”
The appointment follows the tabling of a petition in State Parliament earlier this year with 1800 signatures calling for a full-time paediatrician to be appointed in the South Burnett.
“There is a desperate need for paediatric services in the South Burnett and I have been pleased to work with the South Burnett Under 4s Network to highlight this need and support the petition,” Opposition Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said at the time.
“We need a full-time Paediatric Specialist based in the South Burnett … We have children in our region waiting up to two years for an appointment. For a growing child, this can mean the difference between a good outcome or a lifetime of struggle.”
However, Health Minister Dr Steven Miles responded that the Kingaroy Hospital Paediatric Service was operational and accepting new referrals.
He said a private paediatrician, not employed by the DDHHS, based in the South Burnett died in mid-2018. However, two other paediatricians, one private and one public, continued to provide services as usual in the South Burnett region.
“The DDHHS has partnered with Children’s Health Queensland to provide outreach services to the communities of Cherbourg and Murgon twice monthly,” Dr Miles wrote in his response to the petition.
“Dr Vanil Varghese has recently been appointed and will recommence the service from October 21, 2019. Both health services are providing funding for this position as part of the partnership.
“Dr Paul Tembo, a public paediatrician, provides a paediatric outreach service from Toowoomba Hospital to Kingaroy on a weekly basis. Paediatric outreach services are supported by Kingaroy Hospital Senior Medical Officers to ensure all pre and post appointment requirements and evaluations are completed.
“Dr Ross Diplock continues to provide a private bulk-billed paediatric service to the community of Nanango twice a month.
“I am advised the Kingaroy Hospital Paediatric Service is meeting the targets for reviewing children within recommended waiting times. Category One (urgent) referrals are seen within one month, Category Two referrals within three months and Category Three (non-urgent) referrals are seen within 12 months.
“The recommencement of services to Cherbourg and Murgon with the arrival of Dr Varghese is expected to alleviate pressure on the Kingaroy paediatric clinics.
“I trust this information is of assistance to the petitioners.”