From the ground up: Designing care and supporting workforce readiness within a paediatric inpatient service

Ms Merridy Moore1, Ms Karina Coffey1, Mr Angus Campbell1, Ms Julia Blackshaw1

1Western Health, St Albans, Melbourne, Australia


Western Health recently opened the newly constructed Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital (JKWCH). With the introduction of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) beds, JKWCH became a level 6a health service, the first tertiary centre for maternity and paediatrics in Melbourne’s west.

This change necessitated a redesign of the Paediatric Allied Health model of care and Allied Health (AH) workforce competency and capability.  The redesign of the Paediatric AH model of care has also been influenced by the recent roll-out of the NDIS in western Melbourne.


Extensive research and consultation was completed to ensure that AH was positioned to support JKWCH core business. This included reviewing risks and opportunities in the pre-existing model of care; benchmarking with other services; establishing the core business of a tertiary health service including the interface between health care (hospital) and disability care (NDIS) and a review of research and practice guidelines to inform the model of care.  Developing the model of care included extensive consultation with key stakeholders across the organisation.

Providing safe and effective care to children and families in NICU beds required an assessment of existing competencies and capabilities of staff to determine current skills and potential skill gaps within the workforce. Allied Health disciplines developed competency packages where appropriate, and workforce education was supported internally and by establishing external networks with AH teams with established NICU services.


Paediatric AH at Western Health has a new model of care supporting a competent and capable workforce, who is well prepared to provide best care to the Western Melbourne Community in a new fit-for-purpose building.


The introduction of a new clinical service, in conjunction with opening a new fit-for-purpose building, provided a unique opportunity for AH to review the model of care and develop relevant workforce competencies. Key considerations and learning will be discussed.


Angus (Gus) trained as a Physiotherapist in Albury, NSW; has a Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Physiotherapy. He is a physiotherapist working in the newborn services unit, high-risk infant follow-up program and outpatients at Sunshine Hospital, Melbourne, and has previously worked in a similar role at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. He was a Allied Health project officer supporting the women’s and children’s service transition to the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s at Sunshine Hospital in 2018-19.

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2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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