The Department of Health responds with their advice …

After contacting every paediatrician in Western Australia I wanted to know what the official advice was for families.

I emailed our Minister for Health and Mental Health and asked for something to tell families. It took a number of follow ups and three different officers to respond to me before we finally got beyond generic motherhood statements of concern to some concrete advice.

Here it is.

Our office escalated your concerns to the Department of Health, and have been provided with the following information.
— Health Liaison Officer, Minister of the Hon. Amber-Jade Sanderson

Dear Pia

Thank you for your email, which was forwarded to the office of the Minister for Health and Mental Health. I am [name removed by me], Health Liaison Officer, and the Minister has asked me to respond to you on her behalf.

Thank you for your advocacy and support for Perth families who are seeking developmental support for their children. Our office escalated your concerns to the Department of Health, and have been provided with the following information.

Child Development Service

There is an increasing demand for developmental services, including developmental paediatrician services, across both the public and private sectors and this has led to increasing waiting times for services. As you would be aware, within the public system, the government provides a free (government funded) Child Development Service (CDS) that includes developmental paediatrician services. Families can find information about referral to this service at CAHS | Child and Adolescent Health Service – Referral information or by contacting CDS directly on 1300 551 827.

Given the significant and sustained increase in demand for services, CDS does currently have extended waiting times for developmental paediatrician services. However, CDS will schedule a service planning phone call with a family within 8-12 weeks of referral and this provides an opportunity for parents to discuss other community supports and information that may be available while they are waiting for an assessment appointment.

Online Resources

Your GP

It may also be helpful for a family to make an appointment with their GP to discuss their concerns for their child, including any sleep, diet or mental health concerns and whether a Mental Health Treatment Plan or Chronic Diseases Management Plan would be of benefit in helping provide access to relevant allied health services, such as occupational therapy or psychology supports.

School

For school-age children, early implementation of supports in the classroom environment is valuable. If not already in place, it may be helpful for a family to liaise with their child’s teacher to develop an Individual Education Plan for their child and discuss whether involvement of the school psychologist would be appropriate.

Thank you again for writing to the Minister’s office about this matter. Please let me know if I can assist any further.

Kind regards

Health Liaison Officer

Office of the Hon. Amber-Jade Sanderson