Objective Paediatric services in New South Wales (NSW) are among the best in the world. Its three specialist paediatric centres, Sydney Children’s Hospital (SCH) Randwick, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and John Hunter Children’s Hospital are world leaders in the treatment of children and health research. In 1997, a task force from metropolitan and rural health services across NSW met to look at the issues of networking services. This process considered how networked services could enhance quality care, provide strategies to improve appropriate access to local or specialist paediatric services and clarify the future direction for NSW paediatric services. Key recommendations from this process were the development of formal network services.
Methods Three networks were developed: the western, northern and the greater eastern and southern (GESCHN) child health networks, each encompassing one of the three major paediatric referral centres. The major paediatric facility in the GESCHN is SCH.
Results Ten years on, the GESCHN has improved local care through the support available from SCH, in terms of specialist clinical outreach services, shared treatment protocols and guidelines, staff rotation between services, professional training and development opportunities, support in times of peak demand and smoother transfer and referral of patients between services.
Conclusion Overall, this approach has lead to significant benefits for patients, their carers and clinicians alike. This presentation will discuss the strengths, challenges and outcomes of GESCHN and highlight some of the many projects/services that have been implemented across the network.