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Paediatrics and Neonatal Medicine

At Warrnambool Paediatrics, we offer comprehensive care to children and young people from ages 0 to 18 years. Our 5 paediatricians see patients in both the outpatient clinic, and in Warrnambool Base Hospital where we have a 10 bed children’s ward and a 6 bed Special Care Nursery for premature or unwell newborns.

  • Our Doctors

    • Dr Greg PALLAS BMed FRACP – Consultant Paediatrician and Director of Paediatrics
    • Dr Clare McCASKER MBBS FRACP– Consultant Paediatrician
    • Dr Christian FIEDLER MD FRACP – Consultant Paediatrician
    • Dr Phill MAUDE BMBS FRACP – Consultant Paediatrician

    Registrars

    Our unit has two registrars – experienced doctors who are undertaking postgraduate training in paediatric medicine. They mostly work within the hospital, but also see children in clinic.

    Resident Medical Officers

    We also have two Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) rotating through our team. These are junior doctors gaining more experience in paediatrics. They mostly within the hospital, but also see some children in clinic under the supervision of a consultant.

    Medical Students

    We usually host third year medical students (student doctors) from Deakin University who are completing their rotations in paediatric medicine. They attend ward rounds, clinic sessions and assist with care when appropriate.

  • Visiting the Paediatric Clinic

    Our clinic is located on Ryot Street, just up the hill from the hospital’s emergency department. Initial appointments are 40-60 minutes long, and review appointments are generally 30 minutes long. You will be met by one of our friendly administrative officers, who will confirm your contact details are correct and help with Medicare details.

    Before your appointment, please make sure you bring the following:

    • Your child
      • If your child needs continuous adult attention (i.e. they are hyperactive, easily bored etc.), please bring another adult to look after them so that we can spend the maximum amount of time talking to parents and working out how to help
      • Please do not bring more than one child to your appointment, unless the other children also have appointments. If this is unavoidable, please try to bring another adult to look after the other children.
    • Your Medicare card
    • Any previous medical records that you have concerning your child
    • A favourite toy, book or game
    • Snacks / drinks!
    • A list of concerns about your child’s health, and any questions that you would like us specifically to address in the appointment.

    If your child is being seen for behavioural or developmental concerns, for example ADHD, autism, learning disabilities, mood disorders etc., please also bring the following (if possible):

    • Copies of assessments from Speech Pathologists / Occupational Therapists / Physiotherapists  / Psychologist etc.
    • A note from the child’s school teacher or daycare educator giving their impressions of your child. This doesn’t have to be long or formal, but even a few comments can really help.
  • Telehealth

    The COVID19 pandemic has forced us to reduce the number of children and families seen in person in our clinic. At Warrnambool Paediatrics, we offer phone and video appointments for children that do not need to be physically examined at their appointment. This is at the discretion of the child’s paediatrician. Patients with urgent threats to life or health are always seen in person, as are those where physical examination is needed to guide their care. All other children are being offered telehealth appointments only at this time.

    We have found that telehealth can be really useful for many of our patients with chronic illnesses, who live rurally and those with behavioural or developmental problems. We will continue to offer telehealth services after the pandemic to those families who might benefit from it.

    Make a telehealth call.

  • Referrals and Triage

    To be seen at our clinic, children need to have a written referral from a GP or hospital specialist. This referral should contain as much information as possible. A GP referral is usually valid for 12 months; a specialist can only refer for 3 months. If your referral is not valid at the time of your appointment, you will be asked to get another so that we can bill you to Medicare.
    Once we receive a referral, it is triaged (sorted) as below:

    • Category 1 – Needs to be seen urgently, normally within a week
    • Category 2 – Needs to be seen quickly, normally within a month
    • Category 3 – Non-urgent, to be seen ideally within 6 months
    • Referral declined – in this case, the paediatrician has decided that the child would more appropriately be seen by another specialist or team, and that there isn’t much that we could do to help. In this case, the family and the GP will receive a letter explaining why we have declined the referral, and suggestions for where to seek more appropriate help.
  • Autism Assessments

    Many families have concerns that their child might have features of autism, and seek advice on this to help get their children the best help and support. Autism is diagnosed through a team approach and before seeing a paediatrician, you should get a strengths and challenges assessment done by:

    • A speech pathologist (to look at language, literacy and communication skills)
    • An occupational therapist (to check for learning problems, dyslexia, behavioural problems and problems around completing daily tasks and routines)
    • A psychologist (to look at mood, emotions and general thought functioning)
    • The child’s school teacher or educator

    The best way to access these services (if you don’t have private health insurance) is to ask your GP for a Chronic Disease Management Plan or Mental Health Care Plan, which provides Medicare funding for your child to see these people.

    Some public services and assessments are also available at South West Healthcare, by self-referring to Community Health and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

  • Recruitment

    SWH Warrnambool is fully accredited by the RACP for advanced training in general paediatrics, with acute care, rural health and community paediatric endorsements. It is a fantastic place to spend 6-12 months and you will get experience here like no other place.

    Professional benefits of working at Warrnambool include:

    • Friendly and supportive consultants, all of whom with special skills and experience, with a collegial and “family” working ethos
    • Excellent, expert and congenial nurses and midwives
    • Modern ward, SCN and facilities
    • RMO support from 0800 – 2000hrs
    • Great relationships with emergency medicine, O&G, radiology and pathology services
    • As much outpatient exposure as you want or need, managing both simple and complex cases with assistance and support of consultants as needed
    • Teaching opportunities and responsibilities through Deakin Medical School
    • The chance for independence in clinical practice, whilst having a “safety net” of skilled staff
    • Fantastic pay, as per the DiT award, with lots of overtime and on-call

    We have two registrars and two RMOs with us at any one time. The registrars are usually a GP trainee and a senior RACP trainee. Registrars work a 1-in-3 roster as first on-call but are not rostered for residential night shifts in the hospital. Shift swaps are easy and the department is very flexible with leave and personal commitments. All consultants live within 10 minutes of the hospital and are available 24 hours a day. Registrars are rostered for clinic on alternate weekdays, and have autonomy and flexibility in outpatient care.

    Personal benefits include:

    • Only 3 hours easy drive from Melbourne
    • Furnished family accommodation (with garden) provided within 200m of hospital
    • Great schools and daycare for kids
    • Pristine beaches, lots of nature and scenery
    • Small but thriving arts scene and plenty of good pubs, restaurants and sports facilities
    • Gentle climate with warm summers and mild winters

    Warrnambool is a great place to live and work, and whilst our unit is small, it punches well above its weight in terms of training and lifestyle opportunities.

    If you’re interested, please give us a call or email on: paediatrics@swh.net.au

Page last updated: 18 February 2021

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