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Under-utilised Regional Paediatric Service could relieve our GPs

23 May 2023

Paediatricians are providing relief to the growing burden on the GP services across the Wimmera and Grampians but they claim they are still under-utilised.

Grampians Health provides a visiting paediatric registrar to Horsham, Ararat, Stawell and Maryborough every fortnight and an on-call consultant paediatrician is available for advice Monday to Friday to any GP in the Grampians region.

Dr Daniela Say, who helps coordinate the Grampians Regional Paediatric Model, said GPs were not taking advantage of the service.

“Our team could be easing the burden on GPs by providing follow-up consults but it’s up to the doctors to initiate that,” Dr Say said.

“For instance, if a child presents at Emergency with chronic abdominal pain, then rather than involve an already-burdened GP for follow-up treatment, they could refer to the paediatric service. There is no cost involved so why not take advantage of the service?”

Grampians Health expanded its paediatrics care services across the western Victoria region a year ago, enabling patients to seek specialist care closer to home. The model also allows paediatric patients to access specialist advice either face-to-face or via telehealth. 

Grampians Health paediatric registrars are also consulting on acutely unwell inpatients while on their rotations in the regional sites and provide advice with the support of a specialist consultant paediatrician who is available remotely.

Dr Say said the model wasn’t about taking all children away from seeing their GP.

“It’s not about treating coughs and colds, it’s for general paediatric medical issues such as severe uncontrolled eczema or asthma,” she said. “These children will be seen a lot faster by using our service locally instead of being transferred to the paediatric clinics in Ballarat and put on a wait list.”

The paediatricians also provide education for nursing and GP staff in Emergency and Urgent Care centres.

The On-Call Consultant Paediatrician is available on Monday & Thursday, 10am-1pm and Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday from 2-5pm.

Referrals to the Regional Paediatric Registrar Review Clinics can be sent to the Ballarat General Paediatric clinics intake fax 03 5320 4822. (Please specify it is for the Regional Paediatric Registrar Review Clinic and specify location – Horsham, Stawell, Ararat or Maryborough).

Please see for more information.