Liberals drag feet on essential service for sick kids

May 19th, 2016 by: Kwinana Electorale Office


Fast facts:

  • The Liberal Government axed play coordinators at PMH in April
  • Play coordinators are trained specialists who work with parents to reduce the stress on some of WA’s sickest kids
  • Replacement service promised by Minister are still not in place

Parents of sick kids have been left without essential therapy services after the Liberal Government axed play coordinators at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) then failed in implement the promised replacement service. 

In April, the Minister for Health promised to implement a new system after it was revealed the play coordinators would be axed and replaced by volunteers. The Government is yet to implement the changes.

Play Coordinators are responsible for working with the parents to normalise a child’s time at hospital as much as possible and to put in place therapy and programs to minimise the anxiety associated with their care.

The Minister’s proposal to hand their responsibilities to existing staff, who are already overworked and not trained in these specific areas, will not provide the standard of care currently offered.

In Parliament today, Health Minister John Day confirmed that the new system was not yet in place and he could not say when it would commence.

Comments from Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook:

“The Minister promised to implement a new system but has failed to do so.

“This has left parents of some of our sickest kids without therapy services to relieve children of the trauma and anxiety of painful and distressing medical procedures.

“These kids have cancer and other chronic diseases. I can’t imagine the distress to the child and parent when a kid undergoes a lumbar puncture procedure or similar painful procedure.

“The play coordinators were trained specialists who worked with parents to reduce the stress to the child. They provide a vital service to sick kids and should be reinstated.”

Parent Tracy Hollington has launched an online petition protesting against the axing of the Play Coordinators.

The petition has so far attracted almost 7,000 signatures. She said that she was disappointed the new system had not been put in place.

“It is absolutely disgraceful that the play coordinators no longer perform these roles and have ceased before any interim measure has been introduced.

“This exposes hundreds of our State’s most vulnerable people to trauma associated with frightening, invasive and painful procedures with little to no support.”

Parent Anne-Marie Cox said that her blood was boiling when she hear about the way some parents are now being treated.

“I have even heard that one mother on the ward (3B) was made to ‘feel less than’ by one of the ‘new’ coordinators.   She was all but chastised and told she was his mother and she should do more.

“We are a tough breed, us cancer mums. But that comment infuriated me.”

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