PCHD Policy & Advocacy Committee end-of-year communiqué 2018

The following communiqué highlights the key activities of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division Policy & Advocacy Committee (PPAC) for the second half of 2018.

PPAC Work Plan 2018-2020

PPAC met face-to-face in Sydney to discuss the work plan for the next two years, which is designed to align harmoniously with the PCHD Council Work Plan and the RACP Strategic Plan. This document is undergoing review before finalisation and approval; the document’s list of key priorities will be advised in the next PPAC Communique.

PPAC Membership

Membership of the PPAC has been stable since the last (mid-year 2018) communiqué. View the membership of PPAC.

2018 second half highlights

NSW Inquiry into Support for New Parents and Babies

The NSW Committee on Community Services recently released its final report from the Inquiry into Support for New Parents and Babies in NSW. The Inquiry presents a number of recommendations intended to improve the physical health, mental health and child protection outcomes for new parents and babies, as well as current areas of disadvantage in relation to infant health outcomes.

The RACP provided a submission to the Committee, and Dr Jacqueline Small and Associate Professor John Eastwood gave evidence at the hearing on behalf of the College. The recommendations in the report mirror many of the RACP’s key recommendations, particularly around sustained home visits, promotion of healthy infant maternal attachment, and addressing perinatal anxiety and depression, and improving continuity of care.

Inequities in Child Health

On 28 November the PCHD hosted a large consultation event as part of development of the National Child Health Action Plan being overseen by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY). The National Child Health Action Plan is being developed based on the Healthy, Safe and Thriving: National Strategic Framework for Child and Youth Health report produced by the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council.

Commonwealth Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the Action Plan at the PCHD’s Inequities in Child Health Forum at Parliament House in Canberra in August this year. This Forum formed part of advocacy based on our Inequities in Child Health Position Statement. The Co-Chairs of the group that developed that Position Statement, Professor Sharon Goldfeld and Associate Professor Sue Woolfenden were present at the 28 November consultation event to represent the RACP and PCHD and help lead discussions to find practical ways to maximise child health outcomes throughout the next decade.

Partnering with ARACY and the Department of Health to help deliver a National Child Health Action Plan is a great outcome, and highlights the benefit of policy work like our Inequities in Child Health Position Statement.

Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education

The Senate recently released its report on stillbirth education and research in Australia. It makes a series of important recommendations for the management of stillbirth in Australia’s health system and for employers who’s employees may experience stillbirth. The RACP made a submission to the Select Committee, and Dr Adrienne Gordon presented at the Committee on the RACP’s behalf. The final report mirrors many of the RACP’s key recommendations, especially around the collation of data, the need for national awareness campaigns and establishment of funding priorities.

Kids Off Nauru

PCHD has campaigned for the removal of children from immigration detention on Nauru on health grounds. The Commonwealth Government announced on 1 November that all children will be removed from immigration detention on Nauru by the end of 2018. The RACP continues to campaign for their immediate removal given the immediate risks to their health. Nonetheless, I would like to thank all of those RACP Members, both paediatricians and adult specialists, who took the time to support our campaign. PCHD will continue to campaign on this issue until all children are removed from offshore immigration detention.

Submission and letters

The PPAC have contributed to numerous PCHD policy and advocacy outcomes in the last six months, which include:

  • Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Guidance 2018
  • MBS Gynaecology Clinical Committee Report
  • No Time For Games campaign
  • Kids Off Nauru campaign
  • No Jab No Play amendment
  • ACOSS Raise the Rate campaign
  • Strategic Directions for Australian Maternity Services, consultation paper 2 draft submissions
  • ACSQHC’s third edition of the National Consensus Statement: essential elements for recognising and responding to acute physiological deterioration

See all other recent PCHD submissions, position statements and media.

Your feedback and queries are always welcomed. Get in touch at paed@racp.edu.au

Dr Pat Tuohy, Chair
Paediatrics & Child Health Division Policy & Advocacy Committee
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