10,000 WA kids wait two years to see a paediatrician

Student handouts are short sighted when almost 10K WA children are waiting up two years to see a paediatrician

Picture of Pia Hazelwood | Perth Kids Hub

Pia Hazelwood | Perth Kids Hub

We have 10,000 WA children waiting almost two years to be seen by a paediatrician.

Primary-school aged kids are waiting up to a year and nine months for a paediatrician appointment — a three-month increase since February 2023.

There’s an almost five-month wait for an audiologist, while more than 4,200 children are on a a list to see a speech pathologist.

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Short-sighted handouts ignore the key issues

Roger Cook has announced a $103M student cash splash this week which reeks of pre-election politics. 

Parents and caregivers of children referred to child development services are increasingly concerned abou the effects of long waiting times on their children’s health and wellbeing.

The often excessive waiting times encountered by families in the CDS system are incompatible with the principle of early and timely intervention.

Roger Cook Amber-Jade Sanderson Dr. Tony Buti MLA if you’re looking for some better ways to support our families in WA, here’s an idea.

Please, immediately increase funding to the Metropolitan Child Development Service and WA Country Health Service – Child Development Service and reduce the unacceptably long waiting times and expand the provision of services.`

Mum and Founder of Perth Kids Hub said the current wait times were the worst she's seen. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Even the $9M that you will spend on just administering these handouts could be better spent on improving our education and health systems.

More Education Assistants. Better and fairer disability resourcing in schools. More support for teachers. More school psychologists.

We know what we need to do for now

The interim report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Development Services was delivered in November 2023 and made recommendations about what could be done immediately to reduce the unacceptable waiting times and expand provision of CDS services.  

Dr Yvonne Anderson, a paediatrician working across Curtin University, the Telethon Kids Institute and the Child Health Service provided evidence to the Inquiry:

“Either we choose to adequately fund services for early intervention and prevention that support the development of a child or we do not. 

“Either we choose to value children and our future generations’ needs, or we do not.  In terms of the waitlist, this should not be a can that we are prepared to kick down the road.”

We know how to be agile in health

“We know how to be agile in health.  We have undertaken rapid trans-sectoral responses before, and we should be prepared to take on a rapid response to this immediate problem,” said Dr Anderson.

“Addressing the waitlists with an immediate response means we can spend more time reflecting on how we want to comtemporise our health services into the future.”

Put our kids first

These are our kids who need real help and real change now, not short-sighted handouts.

WA families, how would you spend $103 million to better value our children and their needs?