Concerns over lack of paediatric care

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Leanne Margetts, her son Tate, Jo Pell and Ella Pell, Sarah and Zac Pointon are just three families that have been affected by the gap in paediatric services in the Capes.
Camera IconLeanne Margetts, her son Tate, Jo Pell and Ella Pell, Sarah and Zac Pointon are just three families that have been affected by the gap in paediatric services in the Capes. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Busselton families in need of specialist paediatric care for their children will now be forced to drive to Perth or register on an 18-month waiting list for specialist care in Bunbury.

Parents and carers are desperately searching for new specialists to care for their children after the death of Busselton paediatrician Nathan Smalley.

Busselton resident Jo Pell said she and her daughter, who has level two autism, sensory processing disorder and motor dyspraxia, were forced to get a referral to a part-time doctor in Bunbury with appointments not available until next year.

“My daughter was put on medication by Dr Smalley. She has recently had a follow-up EEG but has no one to interpret the results. We are in limbo,” she said.

“Our family is under a lot of pressure, I am unable to work full-time due to extra appointments. Having to travel to Bunbury or even Perth is too much, especially if follow-up appointments are required.”

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said the gap in paediatric services in the region needed to be addressed by the State Government.

“There are hundreds of children in the region and their families who will be impacted and I have written to the minister for health seeking his assistance to resolve this as soon as possible,” she said.

“I have requested that a short-term solution can be provided in the interim to ensure there is a continuation of care for these children.”

A WA Country Health Service spokeswoman said she was aware of the gap in services after the sudden death of Dr Smalley.

“While WACHS continues to offer a regional child-development paediatric-service clinic in the area, work to improve the availability of outpatient paediatric services across the South West remains ongoing and is being undertaken in consultation with local clinicians,” she said.

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