Western Australia Minister for Health Kim Hames
State Budget 2010-11: More Than 45 Child Health Specialists To Cut Waiting Times
Victor P Taffa
The Western Australia State Government will appoint more than 45 child health specialists in the next year to support young children in need of speech pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the Liberal-National Government’s $49.7 Million investment over four years would bring waiting times down for child development services, in some cases by more than half.
“It is not acceptable for a young child to wait longer than a year for access to a service like speech pathology or occupational therapy.” Dr. Hames said.
“We will reduce waiting times across all disciplines, with significant reductions in the first year.” the Minister said.
“All urgent and complex patients will be seen within the clinically acceptable time frame of four weeks.”
As a result of the boost, the waiting times for speech pathology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are set to be halved.
“In the first year, staffing in the Metropolitan Child Development Service will increase by 32 %, and it will be young children in need of this sort of clinical support who will ultimately benefit.” the Minister said.
Speech pathologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, specialist nurses, clinical psychologists and social workers will be appointed.
“Former governments have ignored this crucial health care area however this funding will improve access and outcomes for young children who need these vital services.” Dr. Hames said.
“A number of innovative workforce practices will be implemented including the use of clinical nurse specialists, therapy assistants, intake and triage teams, as well as the expansion of service models such as Telehealth.”
The Minister said the new funding would address key points from the Parliamentary education and health standing committee’s ‘Invest now or Pay Later: Securing the Future of Western Australia’s Children’ report which was tabled in State Parliament earlier this year.
The State Government will continue its discussions with the Federal Government to continue further funding recommended in the report.