Inpatient services are predominantly provided by the paediatric units at Lismore, Tweed Heads and Grafton Base hospitals. These units are supported by Staff Specialist Paediatricians and highly skilled and trained Paediatric Nurses and Allied Health professionals. In addition, the Richmond Clarence Health Service Group has a Community Paediatrician based at Goonellabah Community Health Centre, who also provides outreach services to smaller communities West of Lismore.
There are two Level 4 role delineation paediatric medical services in NNSW LHD. These services are at The Tweed Hospital and Lismore Base Hospital. There are two Level 3 paediatric medical services at Grafton Base Hospital and Murwillumbah District Hospital. At Casino and District Memorial Hospital there are Level 2 ‘short-stay’ paediatric beds. All other hospitals within the LHD are providing Level 1 paediatric medical services which allow for short stay observation for children of up to 8 hours after an ED presentation.
Peadiatric services work within the Northern Child Health Network (NCHN). This is one of three paediatric networks in New South Wales, which were established in 2001 by NSW Health in response to the Government Action Plan (GAP) for Health. Each network incorporates metropolitan and rural partners and is based on an assessment of flow patterns for paediatric inpatient care.
The NCHN is a collaboration of Hunter New England, Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Local Health District Child Health Networks and is linked to the John Hunter Childrens’ Hospital. It networks services to ensure high quality clinical care is available as close as possible to home for all children. The focus is a shared approach to service development with common guidelines for care, accompanied by staff training and development. It clearly links each local paediatric unit with one or two of the specialist Childrens’ Hospitals in NSW. The quality of care locally is improved by the support available from the Childrens’ Hospitals.
There is no paediatric tertiary facility within NNSW LHD. Through affiliation with the Northern Child Health Network, both Health Service Groups benefit from the outreach services from John Hunter Children’s Hospital including the rotation of Paediatric Registrars from that facility.