Paediatric neurological care closer to home

Sunday, April 14, 2024
Paediatric neurological care closer to home
The new outreach clinic that opened in Bendigo in February 2024.

A partnership between the Royal Children's Hospital and Bendigo Health will bring treatment for children like Avery Westfold closer to home.

The Golden Square family is able to avoid long travel times and save money with the new outreach clinic that opened in Bendigo in February 2024.

"As soon as your child is unwell you have got like a whole diary full of appointments ... so it's just nice to have a 10 minute round trip here, opposed to four hours," father Benjamin Westfold said.

At just six months old, Avery began suffering from infantile spasms, a rare form of epilepsy where the brain sends incorrect signals through the body.

This meant multiple trips to Melbourne each week for the Westfolds.

But now, seeing Royal Children's Hospital paediatric neurologist Professor Richard Leventer in Bendigo once a month has made the world of difference.

As part of the RCH’s goal for an integrated paediatric service system, the outreach program was opened to increase the number of children and young people who can receive high-quality, non-tertiary specialist care close to home.

The clinic will operate in Bendigo for a day every two months, with six full day clinics taking place per year.

Clinicians hope approximately 120 patients will be seen in the Bendigo clinic over the next 12 months.

Bendigo Health Paediatric Clinical Health Joel Ziffer said the partnership with the Royal Childrens would bring “so many benefits” to the region.

“We’re aiming to have care as close to home as possible,” he said.

“By having a neurologist come up and visit regularly to provide secondary consultations for patients who have already been seen by paediatricians, it enables much better care.

“Our local practitioners are also able to get feedback from people like Dr Leventer and that helps us with often complex cases and translate that into how we care for them here in Bendigo.”