Temporary changes to Women, Youth and Children services

Given the evolving COVID-19 situation in the ACT and surrounding region, we have made changes to our health services to keep our patients, staff and community safe.

If you are living with domestic and family violence, help is available.

Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support

Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support provides phone support for women during early pregnancy and for families with children under 5 years of age.

Depending on the nature of your call, you may speak to:

  • a midwife for early pregnancy enquiries.
  • a Maternal and Child Health nurse for support and advice about parenting, breastfeeding, feeding issues, child development and behaviour including sleep, immunisation or any worries about your wellbeing.

You may call 5124 1775 anytime and leave a voicemail with your name, best contact number and reason for your call and a health professional will call you back between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

Note: this is not an emergency service. If you have immediate concerns about your pregnancy, your child’s or your own health, please contact your GP, maternity hospital or emergency department.

Visitors at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Updated 12 August 2021

Visitors not permitted to enter CHS health facilities in the ACT

We have made changes for people who are visiting our hospitals and health care facilities. This is to protect our patients and staff from COVID-19.

More information

A reminder that due to the changing circumstances with COVID-19, all hospitals and health services across the ACT continue to have visitor restrictions in place.

The current visitor arrangements are as follows:

  • As at 5pm 12 August 2021, no visitors are permitted to enter Canberra Health Services facilities unless in exceptional circumstances such as end of life, birthing or for paediatric care.
  • Visitors are strongly encouraged to keep in touch with patients at CHS facilities via phone and/or video calls.

All COVID-19 safe principles and behaviours continue to apply to all visitors.

We understand this is difficult news, but it is necessary to keep everyone as safe as possible.

We have zero tolerance for violence or aggression towards our staff or others.

Anyone exhibiting this behaviour may be refused entry.

We are constantly reviewing these difficult restrictions and will make changes as soon as it is safe to do so.

Maternity care at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Currently, you have access to the full range of birthing options offered by Canberra Health Services including home birth and the Birth Centres. If birth services need to change due to increasing rates of COVID-19 we will advise you of any changes and a midwife will discuss your new options with you.

It’s very important that you continue to attend your antenatal appointments. Due to COVID-19, some of your appointments may be delivered in a different way, such as over the phone or with Telehealth. We will still continue to provide you with the best possible care during your pregnancy.

When a woman is admitted for care related to birthing she may have one support person present for the duration of the admission. No additional visitors on the wards are permitted.

The visitor policy will continue to be applied with compassion and common sense.

Compassionate exceptions to the visitor policy will continue to be determined on a case by case basis. These decisions will be made in consultation with the relevant clinical staff.

If you are unwell or in self-isolation for possible/confirmed COVID-19 and are due to attend a routine maternity appointment, please contact your midwife, general practitioner, your hospital care provider including the Centenary Hospital Antenatal Clinic on 5124 7625 or Birth Suite on 5124 7444 for more information.

You can find out more information on what pregnancy care and birthing options are available, what you should bring to hospital or when to call online.

COVID-19 information for pregnant women

For the latest information, please read the COVID-19 information for pregnant women fact sheet.

Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit continues to provide support to women as usual and will continue to see patients referred from the Emergency Department and from General Practitioners. Women who experience a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and early pregnancy problems will continue to be provided with the same support.

We’re here for you at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Boon Lim, Clinical Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Michelle Thinius, Assistant Director of Midwifery from the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children at Canberra Health Services shares how we're supporting families during the COVID-19 response.

This information is current as of 14 May 2020 and may be subject to change during the COVID-19 response.

Gynaecology Outpatient Clinics

Clinics at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

General Gynaecology Clinics, Colposcopy Clinics and Outpatient Hysteroscopy Clinics continue to be provided but at a reduced capacity. We have reduced the frequency and number of appointments to ensure social distancing. We have set up online gynaecology clinics through Telehealth for non-face to face follow up consultations.

All gynaecology outpatient clinics resumed from 25 May 2020. We will continue to practice social distancing when scheduling appointments and will use Telehealth for follow up consultations where possible.

In line with the COVID-19 recovery processes, elective gynaecology surgery will be fully operational from 15 June 2020. 

Neonatology at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

To provide increased protection to all babies, families and staff in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (SCN) as a result of COVID-19, we have made some changes temporarily.

Expressed Breast Milk, breast feeding and skin to skin time are important in the care provided for babies in the nursery. Parents will be supported by our team to participate in these activities while social distancing guidelines remain in place.

We will continue to provide the same care for babies admitted to NICU and SCN. Babies will be discharged home when they are clinically ready. Services providing support and follow-up after discharge will continue to be provided.

While social distancing is required, where possible, the Growth and Development Follow-up Clinic appointments are being done by telephone.

The advice around visiting related to COVID-19 and social distancing may change, please check with the nurse caring for your baby.

Paediatrics at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Due to COVID-19, we have changed the way we are delivering paediatric outpatient services and clinics.

We have reduced the number of outpatient consultations in line with current restrictions and, where possible, are conducting consultations via Telehealth. Initial consultations are generally face-to-face and followed up via Telehealth if you and your doctor agree that is suitable in your circumstances.

Essential clinic visits are continuing as normal for issues such as fractures, burns, postsurgical reviews, and subspecialist clinics where necessary.

Paediatric day stay services are continuing.  To support these services, we have developed a paediatric outreach service to reduce the need for hospital visits, particularly for vulnerable children and families. One of our staff members will be in touch with you if this service is suitable for your family.

Paediatric surgery has been restricted to emergencies and urgent cases. These restrictions will be progressively lifted over coming weeks. If your child’s surgery was postponed, you will be contacted to make a new appointment once the restriction on that surgery is lifted.

We recognise that during this time you may want to keep children at home rather than bringing them to hospital to seek advice on their illness/es. We want to reassure you that hospitals are safe and welcoming, particularly for children in need. If you think your child may need hospital care, please bring them in or contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for advice. For more information and to find the right care for when your child is unwell visit Your health options.

Canberra Maternity Options

When you find out you’re pregnant, call 5124 9977 to book an appointment with a midwife.

Find more information on pregnancy care and birthing options.

Early pregnancy information sessions

Due to the current restrictions around mass gatherings, we are offering early pregnancy information sessions online instead of face-to-face. These sessions are free of charge for Medicare card holders and asylum seekers.

You can register for an information session on Eventbrite to learn more about what ACT public maternity care and birthing options are available to you.

Antenatal appointments

Due to COVID-19, we are now providing telehealth  appointments by phone or video call  for  antenatal  clinic appointments.

The appointment schedule below is only a guide and may differ depending on your needs. Your midwife will be able to advise how they will support you through your pregnancy.

Timing

Your pregnancy care appointments

Early pregnancy

  • Book an appointment with your GP for your early pregnancy care.
  • You can call 5124 9977 to arrange a phone appointment with a midwife to access ACT public maternity care.

10 – 14 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a Canberra Maternity Options midwife. A short face to face appointment may be required depending on your health needs.
  • The Canberra Maternity Options Midwife will help you decide on the maternity care provider that best suits your needs and preferences.

16 – 18 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife from your chosen maternity care provider.
  • Within 10 days of your phone or telehealth appointment, you will have a face to face appointment with a midwife.

18 – 20 weeks

  • You will have your morphology scan.

22 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife.
  • If you have a higher risk pregnancy you may have a face-to-face appointment at the hospital.

27-28 weeks

  • You will have a short face to face appointment with a midwife within the community.
  • If you have a higher risk pregnancy you may have a face to face appointment with a doctor in the hospital.

32 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife.

34 – 36 weeks

  • You will have a short face to face appointment with a midwife within the community.
  • If you have a higher risk pregnancy you may have a face to face appointment with a doctor in the hospital.

38 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife.

40 – 41 weeks

  • You will have a face to face appointment with a doctor in hospital.
Childbirth education at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Due to the current restrictions around mass gatherings, we are offering our “Pregnancy to Parenting” and “Next Birth after Caesarean” sessions online via WebEx instead of face-to-face. If you are having your baby at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children you can book into a childbirth education session on Eventbrite. Your midwife can also let you know when and how you will be able to book online for these sessions.

Maternal and Child Health

First home visits

We will continue to support new mothers through our first home visit service. To help keep you, your family and our staff safe this service has changed slightly.

A MACH nurse will contact you by phone within 5 working days to arrange a visit from the MACH nurse.

Contact the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support line on 5124 1775 if you have not received a call from a MACH Nurse, or talk about any concerns you may have for your baby’s or your own health.

Please leave a voicemail with your name, best contact number and reason for your call and a health professional will call you back.

Booked clinic appointments

Currently bookings are available for the 6 to 8 week developmental health checks for your baby, and a wellbeing check for the baby’s parent / carer. To make a booking call Central Health Intake on 02 5124 9977, from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.00pm and Wednesday, 8.00am to 3.30pm. This may be subject to change, please check website for updates.

All other developmental checks are temporarily suspended due to COVID restrictions. You may have received a message notifying you that your appointment has been cancelled. Appointments will be available again when COVID restrictions ease.

If you have specific concerns about your child’s growth and development, behaviour, sleep or feeding and wish to speak to a MACH Nurse, please phone the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support Line on 5124 1775 from Monday to Friday.

MACH Clinic locations

Understanding Your Baby Group

You are invited to attend an online Understanding your baby information session. Understanding your baby information sessions provides information on infant behaviour and development, infant cue-based care to support feeding, play, sleep and settling infants from birth to 3 months.

To book into a session visit Eventbrite.

You can also call the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support line on 5124 1775 to speak to a MACH nurse about any concerns you may have with feeding, growth and development or settling concerns.

Leave a voicemail with your name, best contact number and reason for your call and a health professional will call you back within one business day. An appointment will be made for you to have a telephone or Telehealth consultation with an experienced MACH nurse.

New Parents Groups

New Parent Groups have been temporarily suspended to keep you and your family safe. When the COVID restrictions have eased the groups may resume online or face to face.

The New Parent Group is a four week program run by our MACH nurses. It gives you the opportunity to meet other first-time parents with babies of a similar age, discuss topics and issues about parenting and caring for yourself and your baby and find out how to access services available to you in the community. This group is usually available to parents of infants under four months.

To make a booking when COVID restrictions ease, call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

Breastfeeding

We are committed to helping you breastfeed your baby.

If you are having difficulties or are seeking advice for breastfeeding your baby, please call the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support line on 5124 1775 to speak to a MACH nurse.  An appointment can be made for you to have a consultation with a Maternal and Child Health nurse or midwife (this may be via telehealth).

Early Childhood Immunisation Clinic

The Early Childhood Immunisation Clinics are still operating. Immunising your child is important. Babies and children need to be immunised on time so they can get the best possible protection against preventable diseases.

Please note that due to current visitor restrictions in health facilities, the number of adults attending the appointment with the child to be immunised is limited to one person at present.

To make an appointment call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

You can find out more information about this service on the Babies and Children Immunisation page.

Nutrition

Our Nutrition Service provides free nutrition assessment, counselling and advice for children, young people and pregnant women. This service is available to children and young people under 25 years, women during pregnancy and women up to 2 years after giving birth.

The nutrition team is currently providing phone appointments and accepting referrals for the following:

  • poor growth,
  • food allergy and food intolerance,
  • eating disorders,
  • hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) during pregnancy,
  • developmental eating delays (e.g. delayed texture progression,)
  • childhood obesity with medical concerns, and
  • childhood iron deficiency.

To book a phone appointment, please call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

If your referral reason does not fit within these criteria, we encourage you to look at our nutrition factsheets and booklets. You may also like to contact a private dietitian by visiting the Dietitians Association of Australia website or contact the University of Canberra’s Health Hub by phoning 6201 5843. You may also wish to contact your GP for further care at this time.

Fussy Eaters Group

The Fussy Eaters Group is an on-line  live webinar group session where you can discuss your experience of having a fussy eater in your family. To book a place in an online fussy eaters’ group, please call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

Making a Solid Start Group

The Making a Solid Start Group is a n on-line  live webinar group session run by a Dietitian and Speech Pathologist where you can learn more about introducing solids to your baby. For more information on the online Making a Solid Start group, please contact the Child Development Service on 6207 8884. Bookings can be made online at https://childdevelopmentservice.simplybook.me/v2.

Community Nutrition Requests

Previously, our dietitians provided presentations and workshops on various nutrition topics.

Due to the current restrictions around mass gatherings we are unable to run this service face-to-face. Depending on the request, we may be able to offer an online group during this time. Please complete a Request for Nutrition Involvement Form and send it to WYC-Nutrition@act.gov.au if you are interested in an online group.

School Kids Intervention Program

The School Kids Intervention Program (SKIP) is a multidisciplinary, family-centred service for children aged 4 to 12 years who are overweight or obese. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families through regular access to a paediatric specialist, a paediatric dietitian, an exercise physiologist and a psychologist.

The SKIP team is currently providing phone appointments.

For more information, please contact the SKIP Coordinator on 02 5124 1402 or email SKIP@act.gov.au.

For more information on eligibility and making a referral please see the SKIP website here https://health.act.gov.au/services-and-programs/women-youth-and-children/children-and-youth/school-kids-intervention-program

School based programs

School Youth Health Nurse Program

The School Youth Health Nurse aims to promote positive health outcomes for young people and their families.

We support ACT Government high school communities to adopt a whole-of-school approach to address contemporary health and social issues that face young people and their families. The goal is to help young people have a safe and healthy transition into adulthood.

While schools are closed a modified service will be provided.

For more information please email CHS.SYHN@act.gov.au.

Kindergarten Health Check

All Kindergarten students who attend an ACT school are offered a Kindergarten Health check. The health check includes a physical component that is delivered in schools across the year and includes vision, hearing, height, weight, and Body Mass Index (BMI).

While schools are closed this service will be on hold.  For enquiries about the Kindergarten Health Check Program, please call 5124 1585.

Healthcare Access at School (HAAS)

Healthcare Access at School (HAAS) provides Registered Nurses to support school staff to safely care for the complex and/or invasive health needs of children attending ACT Government schools from preschool through to college.

Modified support is available when schools are closed, the HAAS program will resume normal service delivery when school returns. 

For more information or to make a referral email HAAS@act.gov.au.

High School Immunisation

The School Health Team provides the National Immunisation Program vaccines to students in Years 7 and 10:

  • Year 7 students receive the vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, two doses six months apart and the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (dTpa) vaccine single dose.
  • Year 10 students receive the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine-single dose.

Round one vaccines for year 7 students and year 10 students have been completed. Round two year 7 vaccines are scheduled for later this year.

For more information about vaccinations please visit the Canberra Health Services Immunisation webpage or contact the School Health Team on 5124 1585 or email schoolimmunisation@act.gov.au.

Children’s Hearing Service

Children’s Hearing services may be modified during periods of lockdown, for enquiries about the Children’s Hearing Service please call 5124 1585.

Children’s Asthma Education Service

Provides children, adolescents (up to 18 years) and their families with free support to manage asthma. Registered Nurses:

  • provide education on asthma and Asthma First Aid, how asthma medications work and when to use them
  • support families to manage wheezing in the first years of life
  • support children to recognise their symptoms and learn to manage their asthma
  • support adolescents to manage their asthma independently.

The Children’s Asthma Education Service is available to families via clinic appointments or Telehealth.

For more information and to make a Telehealth or clinic appointment with the Children’s Asthma Education Service please contact Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

All children should have a current Asthma Action Plan – available through their GP.

For more information on asthma visit National Asthma Council of Australia.

Allied health services

Early Parenting Counselling Service

The Early Parenting Counselling Service has changed the way our counselling services are delivered to keep you and your family safe. The service is providing counselling and psychosocial support via phone and telehealth for people who are pregnant, partnered to a pregnant person and/ or parenting young children, experiencing challenges such as:

  • adjusting to being a parent
  • dealing with stress that can make parenting more difficult
  • connecting with your baby and toddler
  • concerns about your young child’s wellbeing
  • bonding, attachment and positive parenting practices
  • emotional wellbeing for expectant mothers and fathers
  • managing antenatal and postnatal anxiety, distress and depression
  • experiences of grief and loss
  • coping with a difficult or traumatic birth experience
  • connecting with other support services
  • family or relationship challenges in the early parenting years
  • concerns about Family Violence
  • feeling isolated from family, friends or the community
  • coping with having a baby or young child with developmental delays, disabilities, or additional needs.

If you need support, contact the Pregnancy and Early Parenting Support Line on 51241775 Monday to Friday 8.30am and 5.00pm.

Referrals by professionals can be made through Central Health Intake on  5124 9977.

Eye and vision screening

Canberra Health Services offers eye and vision screening services for children from birth to 6 years. Our services include vision assessment, eye movement assessment and binocular vision tests.

You can access this service with a referral from your GP or MACH nurse if your child has:

  • a vision of 6/9 or less in one or both eyes
  • an obvious or latent squint
  • uneven eye movements.

Please make an appointment by calling Central Health Intake on 5124 9977 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please remember to bring your child’s Blue Book to your appointment, as well as their glasses and referral letter.

Physiotherapy

Our physiotherapy service has changed the way our services are delivered to keep you and your family safe. We are offering physiotherapy support for essential assessments and treatments currently.

For women from 3 to 12 months postnatal, and infants up to 12 months of age this includes:

  • ultrasound treatment for mastitis treatment for blocked ducts
  • infant assessment (head shape, neck issues and positional talipes) postnatal women suffering acute pain with mobilisation and significant pelvic floor / continence issues.

These services are provided via phone or telehealth. A physiotherapist may determine that a face to face appointment is required, and if so, will contact you directly, following a referral.

Referrals can be made by postnatal women or health professionals through Central Health Intake on 02 5124 9977 between 8.00am and 5.00pm weekdays

Important information

The physiotherapists are available Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday ONLY.

For women who are experiencing pain and/or apparent mastitis, and who cannot wait for an appointment on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, we recommend you contact your GP or a private physiotherapy practice.

Community Paediatric and Child Health Service

If you are awaiting an appointment and you need advice during the lockdown, please contact the Child Health Targeted Support Service Intake and support  line during business hours, Monday - Friday on 5124 2712.

Your treating General Practitioner or a medical specialist can still make a referral to our service, which will be considered and prioritised based on age and developmental needs. Referrals can be sent through to Central Health Intake at CHIintake@act.gov.au or faxed to 02 5124 1082.

Child at Risk Health Unit

The Child at Risk Health Unit (CARHU) continues to provide medical examinations, health screens, and therapy for children and counselling support to parents and/or carers regarding concerns of child abuse or neglect.

Referral and telephone support is available through the Child Health Targeted Support Service Intake and support line during business hours, Monday to Friday on 5124 2712.

For after-hours assistance, please contact a Child at Risk Medical Consultant through the Canberra Hospital switchboard on 5124 0000.

Women’s Health Service

In response to COVID-19, the Women’s Health Service is offering counselling and nursing care using telehealth and telephone.

To make a referral for an appointment with a counsellor or a nurse you can call 5124 1787 from 9.00am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Counselling support is available if you have experienced domestic and family violence, abuse and or neglect in childhood and/or adulthood. You may also wish to talk to a counsellor about managing the effects of social isolation, discuss any anxieties, feelings or distress you might be experiencing that is related to your previous experiences of trauma, and to enhance your coping capacity during this period of time.

Please note, this is not a crisis phone line and if you require urgent assistance please call 000, Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or the Domestic Violence Crisis Support line on 6280 0900.

Page last updated on: 18 Oct 2021