My constituency question is for the Minister for Health and relates to maternal and child health, or MCH.
My constituent is a young mother in the City of Casey. She was shocked to be told by her MCH nurse that her eight-week-old son’s MCH appointment may be his last.
Upon further digging she discovered that Casey is providing just four of the 10 key ages and stages visits ordinarily provided by Victorian MCH services.
We all know just how important the first thousand days are to a child’s future wellbeing and what a critical role these visits play in that period. So my constituent asks: what assistance and support is the minister providing the City of Casey to bolster services for the many young families in the area?
Received: 17 April 2023
Hon Mary-Anne Thomas MP
(Minister for Health, Minister for Health Infrastructure, Minister for Medical Research)
The City of Casey Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service is experiencing sustained workforce pressures due to a combination of staff vacancies and high Maternal and Child Health service enrolment numbers.
As of 27 March 2023, the City of Casey provided full MCH service delivery to:
- newborns and infants aged up to 12 months and their mothers/families;
- all Aboriginal children and families; and
- all children and families with additional needs or concerns across all age groups, including families on the Enhanced MCH Program.
The Department of Health, Safer Care Victoria and the Municipal Association of Victoria continue to work closely with the City of Casey to implement strategies with the goal to restore full MCH service delivery capacity as soon as possible.
This prioritised MCH service delivery does not mean that families in need of care are denied access to this vital service. Parents and carers with children are encouraged to contact their local MCH service if they have significant concerns about missed or delayed appointments. All additional services such as Enhanced MCH, first-time parent groups, sleep and settling and lactation services are operating at normal levels.
The Victorian Government has provided City of Casey with additional MCH interface funding to manage MCH workforce and service delivery pressures.
In addition, annual MCH Workforce Support Grants will support MCH clinical placements, graduate placements, and clinical preceptor programs across Local Government Areas, including the City of Casey.