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:
- post-natal support services can be well integrated and coordinated with other universally available services and early intervention and family support programs
- these services can be delivered to better meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and families who have culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (Refer to PeakCare’s Position Papers, Meeting the Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children, Young People and Families and Meeting the Needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children, Young People and Families,and
- these initiatives can assist in addressing other matters raised within PeakCare’s Position Paper, Prevention, Early Intervention Services and Intensive Family Support Services.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, PeakCare Queensland