Q & A: Is anyone accepting new patient referrals for a 3 year old?

I thought I might start posting some of the Q&As that I get in the hope that it can help more than one person to access this kind of information. All identifying information is removed to protect confidentiality.

Dear Pia

Are you accepting referrals for new patients at the moment? We are looking for a developmental paediatrician for a 3 year old.

Thank you, Joyce

Dear Joyce

I’m so sorry I can’t help you with a referral. Perth Kids Hub is an online paediatric directory that provides information only.  It is not staffed by medical practitioners – just a Perth Mum who is trying to help other families find the support they need.  

I have attached the most recent update of paediatricians in Perth & WA.  

As everyone has closed their books, and due to the child’s young age I would recommend the following for the family:

1. Ask the GP to refer the child to the metropolitan Child Development Service.  They report a wait time of 18 months to see a paediatrician but may triage this referral and see the child earlier.  The family will also then access a service planning meeting within 8 weeks of referral and may be able to access other services such as OT, speech etc if required.  If they are seen earlier by a private service they can always cancel this referral.  The family can self refer but I feel like referrals from professionals are given more weight and usually can include the medical jargon that helps triage the case.

2. Select several paediatricians from the attached list and send referrals through with as much information as possible (see attached for guidance or I find the Royal Children’s Hospital’s pre-referral guidelines are really helpful).  All paediatricians have officially closed their books but I have had families get in earlier than expected if they are flexible on timing and contact the practices regularly to enquire about cancellations.  (COVID is good for one thing!)

3. If the child’s development is delayed in two or more domains, encourage the family to contact Wanslea as WA’s early childhood provider of the National Disability Insurance Agency’s early childhood approach.  Two or more domains includes speech and language, swallowing, fine motor skills, social development, play or adaptive skills.  A formal diagnosis is not required and the family may be able to access funding for therapy until the child is 7 years old if they meet criteria.  https://www.wanslea.org.au/programs/early-childhood-approach-eca

4. Depending on when the child is expecting to start Kindergarten etc, once the child is on a waitlist to see a paediatrician, the parents may be able to request the practice provide a letter to confirm this and provide this as supporting information to the school.  If Global Developmental Delay is suspected the child may be able to access additional support at school.

I hope this helps. 

It can be really overwhelming for families and often the people they speak to may only know about the medical side or the educational side. I’ve tried to summarise as best I can some next steps. 

They can also jump on my website at www.perthkidshub.com.au to subscribe for updates to paediatrician availability or to find private allied health services close to them e.g. OT, speech, paediatric feeding services that have no or short waitlists.

I hope you can find someone to help soon,

Pia

Perth Kids Hub

What else would you recommend to Joyce? Is there any other advice you would give her and this family that you would add? Let me know in the comments below.