- Charles Sturt University and Royal Far West set to receive $19.7m in funding in support of a National Paediatric Telecare Service
- The Federal Government funding will be support the rollout of Project Catalyst
- The Service will deliver improved health outcome for children and families in rural and regional Australia
Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Royal Far West (RFW) welcome the announcement today by the Federal Government of funding for the roll out of a Telecare health service for country kids.
During last night’s Budget it was announced that $19.7 million in funding would be provided to deliver Project Catalyst, which was initiated in December 2017 as a pilot to determine if a national Telecare service could be feasible.
The pilot found that rural children are missing out on vital developmental health services, which leads to issues such as speech difficulties, conduct disorders and mental health conditions.
Screening and early intervention via telehealth for children aged 3-12 proved effective in preventing or mitigating these health issues.
CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the funding would have a positive, long term impact on improving the health of Australian children.
“Children in rural and regional Australia will lead healthier lives as a result of this funding,” Professor Vann said.
“The National Paediatric Telecare Service will provide the essential support that is currently missing from health care services for rural and regional children.
“We will proudly support Royal Far West to deliver health services for children in rural and regional areas, which will contribute to closing the gap between urban and regional children.
“A health service like this provides specialist, quality treatment for children who live in remote locations and often in difficult circumstances.”
RFW Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Cane said that the funding will help deliver a brighter future for children who are often invisible to the majority of Australians.
“We know that country children can be profoundly disadvantaged by the lack of access to health services from an early age,” Ms Cane said.
“Country children are more likely to experience developmental problems and one in three country children are unable to access the health services they need.
“The reality of not having access to healthcare services from a young age is that children can end up later in life being homeless, unemployed, incarcerated or suffering from personal difficulties. The best investment the Government can make is in early intervention.
Ms Cane said that the Service would ease frustrations experienced by country families and the investment in young children would provide social benefits well into the future.
“We’re proud to partner with the Federal Government and CSU to deliver a solution to a wicked problem – ensuring thousands of children across rural Australia will no longer miss out on the services they need,” Ms Cane said.
In December 2017, RFW and CSU announced “Project Catalyst”, a partnership to assess the feasibility of developing a National Paediatric Telecare Service (NPTS), underpinned by excellence in research, services, enhanced delivery and training/education.
The Partnership is an example of a robust University/Not-For-Profit/Government alliance that will deliver a global exemplar for technology-assisted, integrated education, health and social care services to children in rural and remote communities.
Building on the success of RFW’s Telecare service, that has grown from a pilot in 2014 to supporting over 100 primary schools last year and delivering 629,000 clinical service hours last year, the Telecare Service will deliver world class, technology assisted health, education and social care services to children living in rural and remote areas of Australia.
Project Catalyst has provided the plan to scale the Telecare service nationally.
Initial projects include:
- Build evidence to support the efficacy of telehealth as a solution in rural and remote communities
- Longitudinal study addressing how government and non-government systems can work together to better support access to appropriate, high quality health services for rural and remote children with developmental challenges, including the ROI of investing early and reducing vulnerability
- Translational and evaluation activities utilising years of existing RFW baseline client data
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