A new plan for children’s health services

We want to make sure children and young people in Canberra get the healthiest start in life.

childrens health services plan

Families need to be able to access the best possible health care and so our health services need to change as our city changes.

A Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan is being developed to ensure families, children and young people are able to access the care they need, when they need it, closer to home. The draft Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan is now available for comment to further inform the direction and identify any changes that could be required. The consultation process will continue during May and June 2023. Feedback and comments on the Draft Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan can be sent to healthservicesplanning@act.gov.au

The development and implementation of a Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan is an Area of Focus of the ACT Health Services Plan 2022-2030 which sets a roadmap for the redesign and redevelopment of health services and infrastructure across the ACT.

The Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan will identify how we can:

  • improve and strengthen our existing health services and programs to support better outcomes and improve patient experiences
  • improve access to services in the community and in hospital
  • plan for the future healthcare needs of our children and young people.

The Plan complements other work already underway to improve the health of, and services for, Canberra’s children, including expansion of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, the Maternity in Focus - The Public Maternity System Plan for 2022-2032,  Year 7 Health Check and the development of the First 1000 Days Strategy.

The Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan will be finalised mid-2023.

In September 2022, the Minister for Health established the Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Expert Panel to support the Government to achieve better health outcomes for children in the ACT, particularly the most vulnerable young people in the community.

May 2023 update: The Panel – what we have done

The Expert Panel has met multiple times since its first meeting on 7 November 2022, with a mix of face to face and online meetings.

Actions and recommendations from recent reviews and ongoing initiatives have been brought together and considered by the Panel to ensure ACT health services are delivering high-quality care and planning for the future needs of children, adolescents and their families from Canberra and the surrounding region.

The Expert Panel has considered forecast population numbers, identified health service needs, areas for service expansion and improvements required in the integration of services between primary, specialist, acute and interstate clinical services. Outcomes from previous stakeholder engagements informing health service planning for children and adolescents have also been considered.

A number of meetings and site visits have occurred with clinicians from across the ACT and other subject matter experts. The Panel continues its commitment to engage with executive and clinicians from both the hospital and community health settings (including Mental Health), Community Services Directorate and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.

The Minister for Health attended the face to face Expert Panel meeting on the 20 April 2023 to receive an update from members on the progress of the Panel and next steps.

The Expert Panel has finalised their recommendations for the draft Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan, building on the existing evidence base and is looking forward to sharing the draft plan with key stakeholders and the community to inform the direction of the Plan and identify any changes that could be required.

May 2023 update: The Panel – what we have heard

A Panel member visited the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm on the 18 April 2023. The visit provided a valuable opportunity to speak with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and staff at the Farm to hear their views on what matters to them regarding the health care system for children in the ACT, as well as opportunities for service improvements that would benefit the whole community.

Clinical teams working with children and adolescents in the hospital and community settings have confirmed there are great services and programs already in place. There are also opportunities to build on current services and the connections between health services, which relies on a series of enabling activities related to workforce, resources, digital health technology and continuous quality improvement within a learning health system.

Family experiences and expectations of accessing interstate specialist care

As part of our ongoing work to improve services for children and young people, ACT Health engaged the Health Care Consumers' Association (HCCA) to undertake interviews with children and families who are or have been subject to interstate care arrangements.

The HCCA Consumer and Family Experiences and Expectations of Accessing Interstate Specialist Care: The Kids Interstate Shared Care report (HCCA KIP Project Final Report .pdf (act.gov.au) makes 17 recommendations across a range of issues including improving care coordination, access to information, improving patient and family experiences of care and supporting families and children. The findings in this report have been supported by the Expert Panel and inform the draft Child and Adolescent Clinical Services Plan.

Page last updated on: 16 May 2023