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Maternal Child and Health Service to give “all mums and bubs the best possible start to life”

The LNP has announced a plan to establish a $92 million Maternal and Child Health Service to be made available to all parents and newborn children across the State.  Staffed by nurses with experience in maternal and child health, this service will include visits to newborn parents’ homes and free community health clinics to:

  • provide advice and support on child health, parenting, early infant development, maternal health and well-being, immunisation and nutrition
  • link families to public and private health services, and
  • foster community support through local parent groups.

The home visits will occur when children are aged two and four weeks of age, and free community consultations will be made available when children turn two, four, eight and twelve months old.

Development of the proposed service has been informed by a similar scheme that has been successfully operating in Victoria.

In response to the LNP announcement of this initiative, Health Minister Geoff Wilson stated that the Bligh Government had already established 18 Family Centres as part of Labor’s “Mums and Bubs Plan” that was announced in 2009, and almost 20,000 women have received post-natal follow-ups from community nurses since that time.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls has described Labor’s Family Drop-In Clinics as a “drop in the ocean” in comparison with the Maternal and Child Health Service being proposed by the LNP.  He has argued that the clinics set up by the Bligh Government do not deliver post-natal visits to all mothers and their infant children, are only offered in 42 locations and are open for limited hours only.  The LNP is stating that their initiative will provide a much more comprehensive service that will be made universally available to all mothers and babies across the State.

PeakCare acknowledges the investment made by the Bligh Government since 2009 in making post-natal support available to new mothers and congratulates the LNP in taking this a step further with their intentions, if elected, to establish a universally available Maternal and Child Health Service.

PeakCare views initiatives of this kind as consistent with the intentions of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children that was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2009.

Peakcare now looks forward to further discussion and planning about ways in which:

If you have a view or opinion about the LNP’s proposed Maternal and Child Health Service or a related matter, please enter a comment below or email us at election2012@peakcare.org.au.

Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, PeakCare Queensland

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I fully support the LNP committment to strengthening Maternal and Child Health Services in Qld. Home Visiting by qualified Maternal and Child Health Nurses for all families with newborn babies has been rolled out in the 3 pilot sites as part of the Helping Out Families initiative where there is capacity to extend the number of visits provided where risk issues are identified. Any such scheme must have this capacity. The Helping Out Families initiative should be rolled out across Qld by any incoming Government.
    In addition the Early Years Centre model being piloted across 4 sites across Qld should be extended, where early childhood health is provided as part of a “one stop shop” along side early childhood education such as playgroups and kindergarten, family support, parenting programs and toy libraries. These services are both centre based and mobile. Similar services will be delivered through the 10 Aboriginal Child and Family Centres being rolled out across Qld and are essential for delivery culturally appropriate early childhood education and care services for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander children and families. There is a need to expand these models and service locations and they offer services in a non stigmatising environment, combine universal services with services more vulnerable families and can outreach to families in their homes. MIchael Tizard, State Manager, Qld. The Benevolent Society

    March 1, 2012
  2. I absolutely agree with the LNP’s initiative to provide 6 home visits by Maternal and Child Health Nurses to families with newborns; and with Michael’s comments. The LNP mention that their proposed services are similar to those in other states, they are also similar to existing pilot programs in Queensland. The Helping Out Families Initiative pilot programs in the South East Region include expanded maternal home visiting programs. The referral data from the HOFI pilots clearly show the demand for services for families. Thousands of referrals have been received from child safety, community organisations, schools, health workers and families themselves into expanded secondary services which include maternal home visits. The HOFI should be rolled out across the State and include maternal home visits and increased domestic and family violence services.

    March 1, 2012
  3. Felicity Mann #

    If we are going to hear about the proposals from Labour and the LNP, should this not also cover other parties too? I think you’ll find the Greens had a policy reponse as well. I’m not sure about other parties, but I would appreciate hearing about child health and child protection policy from all parties, not just the two majors. Given the current political climate, I think you will find may voters are investigating other voting options.

    March 2, 2012
    • Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, PeakCare Queensland #

      Thanks for your comments Felicity. It would be excellent to hear from the Greens as well as other parties. Certainly, a set of our Position Papers was sent to both the Leader of the Greens and their child protection spokesperson with an invitation to contact us. We have not received a reply as yet, but will follow this up and let them know that we would be happy to report on their policies as well.

      March 6, 2012
  4. Shelley Wall #

    I too support any well thought out initiative that will help support QLD families but I strongly encourage whoever forms our next government to ensure that we build a comprehensive response to the need for ‘early intervention and prevention’ services that will assist families and communities to grow stronger. Shelley Wall, Manager, Mercy Family Services [Residential Care]

    March 3, 2012
  5. Gail Slocombe #

    It is wonderful to hear that polictical parties are beginning to take prevention seriously. For too long governments have not invested sufficiently in early intervention and universal services which encourage families to seek help very early and thus prevent things getting out of hand. Universal services have proved to be very beneficial in supporting families in their parenting at that crucial time in a child’s life. It is very difficult in a vast and decentralised state like Queensland to ensure equality of access to universal services because in romote areas it is often difficult to put quality services on the ground. Hopefully inovative solutions to isolation issues will be found in any roll out of a Queensland wide program. Local solutions and place based services can help to promote such ‘soft entry’ solutions for all families and especially those with some vulnerability.

    March 5, 2012
  6. Sounds great! Bring it on!! And one day in the not too distant future I’m hoping to be one of those Maternal & Child Health nurses.

    May 27, 2012

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