The Paediatric Clinical Network (PCN) was established in July 2009 with the broad aim to progress a coordinated approach to planning, development and delivery of state-wide paediatric services in order to meet increasing demand for both specialist and general services. The Strategic Framework for Paediatric Health Services in Victoria was published in May 2009 and has provided the network with guiding principles and priorities such as:
- high quality and safe services built on evidence, knowledge and research
- child and family-centred care
- employs a workforce that is skilled and flexible
- care that is in the community, close to home where possible, cost effective and sustainable.
The PCN developed a work plan to progress key initiatives identified in the framework. To date the PCN has undertaken activities in a range of areas from supporting the uptake of evidence to workforce education. Current PCN projects are described briefly below.
Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs)
With the aim of supporting the use of evidence and reducing inappropriate variation in clinical practice, the PCN convened a small specialist working group to work with the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) to review and modify the most commonly accessed Clinical Practice Guidelines for application in settings outside of major paediatric tertiary centres. To date, more than 20 CPGs have been adapted for statewide use through this process. A list of the CPGs that have been adapted as at December 2012 can be found here. These and other RCH CPGs can be accessed on the RCH website.
The PCN will continue to support this work through 2013.
Telehealth for improving paediatric care
In 2011, the PCN funded health services to undertake 14 telehealth-based projects. These short-term projects trialled various methods for education and peer support within rural, regional and outer metropolitan health care settings and have enabled child health clinicians to establish demonstration telehealth forums for education, peer support and supervision, and in some cases clinical care.
In 2012, the PCN provided further funds to four participant health services to build on the successes and lessons learnt from their earlier projects to further embed telehealth as an accepted mechanism for enhancing education and peer support for their paediatric workforce, and for improving the delivery of clinical care and outcomes for children. This further funding is to enable health services to extend, further establish, and evaluate benefits with an emphasis on sustainable practice.
Supporting the workforce
In 2011, the PCN undertook a project to help build greater capability in the state-wide paediatric workforce through offering education scholarships to nursing and allied health professionals working in public health services. Forty scholarships were awarded to support individuals undertake one of four established nursing or allied health specific training courses/programs.
In 2012, the PCN shifted to a more service and/or system-level approach to supporting the workforce. As such submissions were invited from public health services for funding to support a one-off time-limited project or projects that developed and delivered a paediatric specific education resource or program focussed on developing workforce capacity in paediatric clinical care. The PCN was looking to support clinician-led initiatives that:
- addressed a specific area of need or opportunity for expanding the knowledge and skills of medical, nursing and/or allied health staff
- were consultative in their approach
- clearly linked the workforce education/professional development activity to improvements in clinical services and outcomes for children
- produced benefits that are sustainable over time.
Following a competitive application process the PCN funded four initiatives. The titles of these projects are:
- Feeding disorders and difficulties - community education
- Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS) competency and education project
- Online advanced education for paediatric physiotherapists
- Paediatric nephro-urology for community medical practitioners – development of internet-based clinical resources.
Other workThe PCN also has an active interest in the following areas: paediatric-specific clinical indicators and performance measures; chronic and complex conditions; overall service capability; and workforce sustainability.
The PCN's ongoing work plan is currently being revised following recent strategic planning activities. Updates on the PCN’s current and future work will be posted in due course.
Resources and links
Decision-Making Principles for the Care of Infants, Children and Adolescents with Intersex ConditionsDecision-Making Principles for the Care of Infants, Children and Adolescents with Intersex Conditions resource is for use by Victorian hospitals responsible for the healthcare of infants, children and adolescents with intersex conditions.
The Victorian Department of Health, in collaboration with leading experts in the field, has developed the resource to assist decision makers to make the best possible decisions in this complex area.The resource synthesises the advice of Victorian Government, medical, human rights, ethical and legal experts and community advocates, and outlines best-practice principles to be applied to decision making. It is intended to assist decision makers to safeguard the best interests of patients.