Children and families from rural and remote Australia could see a major shift in the affordability and access to health services targeted at childhood development.
Royal Far West (RFW) and Charles Sturt University (CSU) are partnering in a one year discovery phase that will assess the feasibility of developing a National Paediatric Telecare Centre. The partnership was launched today at Government House Sydney by the Governor of NSW, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), Patron of Royal Far West Children’s Health Scheme.
“I’m pleased to be associated with this venture and wish both Royal Far West and Charles Sturt University every success as they go forward with this important work,” Governor Hurley said.
Vice-Chancellor of CSU, Professor Andrew Vann said, “The Partnership is an example of a robust University/not-for-profit alliance that aims to deliver a global exemplar for technology-assisted, integrated education, health and social care services to children in rural and remote communities. It will also provide unique research opportunities that will benefit rural and remote children and their families.”
Chief Executive Officer of RFW, Ms Lindsay Cane said, “One in five children in Australia are developmentally vulnerable when they start school and this number grows the further you are from a capital city. This has profound consequences for not just children in rural and remote communities, but the broader economy. Some of these include higher rates of chronic disease and mental health; poorer educational attainment; greater likelihood of unemployment, homelessness and crime. At Royal Far West, our job is to reduce this unacceptable gap between city and country kids. This exciting partnership with Charles Sturt University, aims to give us the scale and evidence to build a national asset for country children that will tackle childhood vulnerability in Australia.”
Key points about the partnership:
-The partnership is a 12-month research and development project that will build a business case for a Paediatric Telecare Service;
-A successful business case will see an ongoing 5-year commitment between CSU and RFW to launch and grow a Paediatric Telecare Service that will serve the nation;
-A national Paediatric Telecare Service will help address issues of affordability and access to specialist health services for rural and remote children across the nation;
-RFW and CSU will develop practical, effective solutions to support complex rural workforce and funding issues;
-Increased numbers of CSU students will gain exposure to rural community services, and gain knowledge and practice in the use of technology-assisted service delivery.
Professor Vann and Ms Cane both remarked at how very proud they are to be working together and are looking forward to the many positive outcomes this partnership will have for children, families, healthcare professionals, educators and governments in rural and remote Australia.