Formal networking of Paediatric services in NSW began in 2001, in response to the Government Action Plan (GAP) for Health, with the challenge to balance access and quality of care for a population of 1.4 million children throughout an area of more than 800,000km. The Greater Eastern & Southern NSW Child Health Network (GESCHN), Northern Child Health Network (NCHN) and Western Child Health Network (WCHN) were created and each provided with biennial funding for projects and infrastructure. The netwroks began with a focus on acute care of children aged < 16 years, and soon thereafter 12 Paediatric Acute Care Clinical Practice Guidelines were developed to standardise the care of children presenting to Emergency Departments in NSW hospitals. The realm of the CHNs now extends to primary as well as acute health care for children in NSW. There is a growing emphasis on networking beyond the silo of "Health" to acknowledge the holistic nature of children's health needs.
Each Child Health Network (CHN) incorporates metropolitan and rural partners and is based on an assessment of flow patterns for paediatric inpatient care. Since the merger of Sydney Children's Hospital with the Children's Hospital at Westmead, GESCHN and WCHN are both linked with the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (Randwick and Westmead). GESCHN Partners include ACT Health as well as Shoalhaven Local Health District, Northern Sydney Local Health District, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District,, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Local Health District, Murrumbidgee Local Health District, Southern NSW Local Health District, Sydney Children's Hospitals Network. Although the ACT is not part of NSW, the importance of their relationship with Murrumbidgee and Southern NSW Local Health Districts are recognised. GESCHN partners support each other by sharing the expertise found throughout the Network.
The priorities for GESCHN are comprehensive and include:
- Improved Safety and Quality of Child Health Services via the Provision of Education and Support to Child Health Service Providers in Rural and District Hospitals
- Improved Communication Between Disciplines, Wards, Facilities and Areas Communication and concepts of standardisation
- Increased Resources for Child Health Services
- Partnerships& Collaboration Within and Between Organisations
- Advocacy for Child Health
- Cultural Safety
Utilising the expertise of clinicians throughout the Network, GESCHN endeavours to provide the highest quality paediatric health care services in the most appropriate location. This means that all children around NSW, even those living in rural and remote communities, may have access to the required health care, with minimisation of travel times. This is being achieved with the assistance of NSW Health and regular biennial allocations for projects that enhance networking.
In addition, the 3 Child Health Networks have developed 12 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Acute Care of children with common presentations to Emergency Departments.
To learn more about the Greater Eastern & Southern NSW Child Health Network, contact the GESCHN Coordinator: Margaret Kelly
T: 02 9382 1686
Or GESCHN administration officer Danielle Nehl
T: 02 9382 1634