The Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network Forum 2019, held 19 November 2019, was facilitated by Associate Professor Rebecca Kimble, Chair of the Network.
More than 200 clinicians and healthcare leaders from across Queensland attended the event, including the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer, Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive, clinicians and consumers.
The Hon. Steven Miles, Minister for Health, opened the event by acknowledging the significant contributions of the 3,000 network members to improving Queensland’s Maternity and Neonatal services. The Minister spoke about current priorities in rural maternity, including services at Weipa, Cloncurry and Chinchilla, as well as recent investments in rural workforce training, 100 additional midwives, and permanency of 400 nurse navigators.
Launch of Growing Deadly Families: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternity Strategy 2019-2025
The Minister for Health launched the Growing Deadly Families: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Maternity Strategy 2019-2025, acknowledging the Strategy as a commitment to a seamless maternity journey, integrated service delivery and access to culturally appropriate care for women and their families. The Strategy is complemented by recent investment in expanding the Birthing in Our Community maternity hub to the environment for healthy, confident and resilient children and families.
Haylene Grogan, Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer and Deputy Director General Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, said the strategies supports giving women and families the best experience by focusing on co-design and co-delivery to provide greater access to culturally safe care. Haylene acknowledged the strategy is “Standing on the shoulders of giants”, speaking about her personal journey, the work of Ngarrama services, and examples of ‘getting it right’ in places like Warrabinda.
The Strategy will be available from the Queensland Health Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Branch website from early December.
Network achievements and priorities
Associate Professor Rebecca Kimble, Chair of the Network highlighted the quality of Queensland’s maternity and neonatal services, presenting National and Queensland data against the international context. The contribution of the Network to the quality maternal and perinatal outcomes was exemplified by achievements of Network programs covering diverse aspects of healthcare including evidence informed care, digital capability, Workforce education, and support for early engagement and stopping smoking for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mothers.
Panel: Engaging Rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in maternity and neonatal care
Panel members discussed practical strategies to support engagement of rural communities and highlighted the need to focus on building long term trust and relationships, and the role of cultural safety in providing great care and outcomes. The Panel was facilitated by Dr John Hall, President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia. Panel members were:
- Haylene Grogan Chief Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Officer, Queensland Health
- Simon Costello Manager Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Management Unit, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service
- Dr Dan Manahan Director of Medical Services Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Rural Division
- Rebecca Rooney Midwifery Educator, Thursday Island, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service
Rural Maternity Improvement (Ministerial Priority)
The Rural Maternity Taskforce (RMT) Report released in June 2019, included six recommendations which where all accepted by the Minister for Health as priorities for Queensland Health. Planning is now underway as to how to achieve the recommendations of the report.
Kirstine Sketcher-Baker, Executive Director Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Service, Clinical Excellence Queensland provided an overview of the RMT report, describing key features and analyses leading to the recommendations. Carolyn James, Principal Project Officer Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Service, Clinical Excellence Queensland described the Rural Planning Framework and the pilot program commencing at five rural locations to trial the service planning tool.
An outline of the Rural Maternity Implementation actions was provided by Lisa Davies-Jones, Chief Executive North West Hospital and Health Service, and Co-chair of the Rural Maternity Implementation Oversight Committee. Departmental actions determined through the implementation will support better access to quality care and a skilled workforce for women in rural areas.
Emerging opportunities – Genomics and Advanced Telehealth
Opportunities in the use of genomics to support precision, person centred care were highlighted in a feature presentation by Dayna Williamson, General Manager Queensland Genomics Health Alliance. Dayna balanced the advancement of technologies with discussion of ethical considerations of genomics. The Alliance facilitates clinical application of genomics technologies in Queensland and is currently exploring opportunities to collaborate with Network members.
Dr Cliff Pollard, and Daniel Best, from Clinical Excellence Queensland are making initial steps towards clinical application of augmented reality to improve remote support for clinicians during emergency and urgent care situations. Starting with real-time annotation of live video and images, the technology will improve access to the knowledge and experience of experts in tertiary facilities over our extensive telehealth network.
Updates on the extensive improvement work of Network members were the focus of the afternoon sessions.Neonatal Early Warning Tools
The QNEWT has recently been updated to optimise access to relevant information and graphical viewing of clinical observations for tertiary, regional and rural settings. The NEWT assists in early identification of deteriorating neonates.Neonatal Retinal Screening
The Network in partnership with the Queensland Children’s Hospital is progressing a screening program to improve the quality and access to screening for a range of conditions associated with prematurity. The program provides access to quality image collection and expert interpretation and will reduce the need to transfer babies to Brisbane for screening and monitoring.Queensland Clinical Guidelines
In the past 12 months Queensland Clinical Guidelines has released 6 guidelines, three short guides, and established the Queensland Neonatal Medicine Formulary. The guidelines continue to be the most viewed clinical website in Queensland Health and attracts one download every 4 Minutes. The guidelines, clinician education and parent information developed by QCG and the network members form the basis for evidence informed maternity and neonatal care in Queensland.Indigenous early engagement and stopping smoking strategies and outcomes
The Network is supporting better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers by sharing strategies that enable the achievement of the funded improvement targets for early antenatal care and stopping smoking. Co-Chairs of the SMNCN Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pregnancy Care Working Group presented on highly effective strategies that support better identification of indigenous mothers, better reporting of data, and supporting more effective conversations about health. Strategies discussed support the Growing Deadly Families Strategy launched at the start of the day.
Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network
Visit the Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network webpage for more information about what we do, and our current priorities and key initiatives.