Seriously sick kids will get care: LRH

Latrobe Regional Hospital says children with serious health conditions will continue to receive immediate care.

It comes after community group, Voices of the Valley publicly expressed concerns last week about local waiting times to see paediatricians.

LRH has moved to reassure the community that children who need urgent care, will receive it.

The hospital’s chief executive Peter Craighead said 24-hour emergency care was available to children from a paediatric team, which included a dedicated paediatric hospital medical officer and doctors on rotation from the Royal Children’s Hospital and Monash Children’s Hospital.

“This team also provides paediatric support to the Emergency Department at LRH. If a child requires more intensive treatment, they may be transferred to the Royal Children’s Hospital or Monash,” Mr Craighead said.

LRH currently has five paediatricians, with a sixth due to join the team in July.

They provide care to children referred by their GP or after they have been an inpatient at the hospital.

According to LRH, four of the five paediatricians provide public bulk-billing clinics with a waiting period of about three months, while the other paediatrician is a private service with a waiting time of six months.

The hospital also has visiting paediatricians who specialise in neurology, endocrinology, cardiology, surgery and ear, nose and throat conditions.

“It’s important to put any concerns about paediatric services in this community into context,” Mr Craighead said.

“A child who is seriously ill will be treated immediately by our Emergency Department and we have support from metropolitan hospitals if they need more intensive care.

“If a child needs specialist care from a paediatrician, there is a short wait, but the child will continue to have the support of their GP and of course our ED in an emergency.”

Mr Craighead said LRH had not been contacted directly by Voices of the Valley to discuss the group’s concerns about paediatric waiting times or the range of conditions the group claims children have developed in the wake of the Hazelwood mine fire.