Temporary changes to Women, Youth and Children services

Given the evolving COVID-19 situation in the ACT and surrounding region, we have made changes to our health services to keep our patients, staff and community safe.

If you are living with domestic and family violence, help is available.

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Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support

Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support provides phone support for women during early pregnancy and for families with children under 5 years of age.

Depending on the nature of your call, you may speak to:

  • a midwife for early pregnancy enquiries.
  • a Maternal and Child Health nurse for support and advice about parenting, breastfeeding, feeding issues, child development and behaviour including sleep, immunisation or any worries about your wellbeing.

You may call 5124 1775 anytime and leave a voicemail with your name, best contact number and reason for your call and a health professional will call you back between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

Note: this is not an emergency service. If you have immediate concerns about your pregnancy, your child’s or your own health, please contact your GP, maternity hospital or emergency department.

Visitors at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

After careful consideration of the current COVID-19 situation, health facility restrictions have been eased in the ACT to allow visitors in certain circumstances.

Please note, whether you are COVID-positive or a close contact we will provide a plan for your safe care within our hospital. Our arrangements are as follows:

Women in labour or women having a planned caesarean birth

Women admitted for care related to birthing can have two support people, however, only one support person may attend the operating theatre for caesarean section.

If you are in labour or are having a planned caesarean birth, please call us before coming to the hospital. We will ask you some screening questions to ensure everyone’s safety when you attend. Your handheld maternity record has the number to call on the back.

Please be assured we will not turn you away for any reason, but we may need to take extra precautions to ensure everyone’s safety.

Women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19

If you have COVID-19, we will not turn you away, we are here to support you as usual.

We have a dedicated birthing room midwife that will be allocated to your care. Our team will be wearing full protective equipment (PPE).

If you have COVID-19 you will be required to wear a mask during labour. This is to protect you, your support person, and our staff. Your support person will also need to wear a mask.

Women admitted for pregnancy concerns but are not in labour

You will be allowed two support people per day, but only one support person at any one time.

In exceptional circumstances, such as perinatal loss, two support people can attend at any one time.

Women admitted for Gynaecology concerns

Women admitted for gynaecological care can have two support people per day, but only one support person at any one time.

Coming to hospital for ante-natal or gynaecological appointments

We ask that you attend your outpatient antenatal or gynaecological appointment with one support person.

This includes:

  • Antenatal
  • Fetal Medicine Unit
  • Gynaecology outpatient visits and
  • Visits to the Maternity Assessment Unit.

We are still offering maternity appointments as usual. We can offer you a telehealth appointment if you prefer not to attend your appointment in person. Please let us know.

If you have an appointment but are in self-isolation/quarantine, please call us so we can assess you and discuss plans for your ongoing care.

You will be required to wear a mask while at the hospital, including during the appointment and in the waiting room. We will provide you with a surgical mask on arrival.

Postnatal care

Once you are home, a Midcall Midwife will contact you daily to discuss any concerns. They will then arrange to see you face to face in your home, dependent on your needs.

We ask that only the mother and baby are in the room when we visit your home.

Our staff will wear a mask when we visit you at home. We will also ask the mother to wear a mask.

Paediatric care

For admitted babies, children and young people (0-17 years), both parents or carers can attend. Only one parent or carer can stay overnight.

If both parents are isolating, then the family can nominate another two visitors. The parents/guardians/visitors must wear a mask.

Paediatric Outpatients

Children and young people attending paediatric outpatients can have both parents or carers attend. Only one parent or carer can accompany the child or young person in the consult room.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery

For patients admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or the Special Care Nursery (SCN), two parents/carers can attend at a time.

If both parents/carers are isolating, you can nominate two other visitors. You will need to notify staff of your request for another visitor during your isolation.

Attending appointments in Community facilities

We are continuing to offer services for women, children, and families in community facilities, including community health centres, child health clinics and the child and family centres. Some services may be provided or offered by phone or via telehealth.

If you are attending an appointment in a community facility in person, for example, to get your child immunised or for a developmental check, only one parent or carer may accompany the child to the appointment. As a young baby and parent/carer is considered one person, a second person may attend the appointment if it is necessary. No other children may be brought to the appointment.

If you have an older child and need a support person to attend the appointment with you an exemption may be considered.

Maternity care at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Currently, you have access to the full range of birthing options offered by Canberra Health Services including home birth and the Birth Centres. If birth services need to change due to increasing rates of COVID-19 we will advise you of any changes and a midwife will discuss your new options with you.

It’s very important that you continue to attend your antenatal appointments. Due to COVID-19, some of your appointments may be delivered in a different way, such as over the phone or with Telehealth. We will still continue to provide you with the best possible care during your pregnancy.

When a woman is admitted for care related to birthing she may have one support person present for the duration of the admission. No additional visitors on the wards are permitted.

The visitor policy will continue to be applied with compassion and common sense.

Compassionate exceptions to the visitor policy will continue to be determined on a case by case basis. These decisions will be made in consultation with the relevant clinical staff.

If you are unwell or in self-isolation for possible/confirmed COVID-19 and are due to attend a routine maternity appointment, please contact your midwife, general practitioner, your hospital care provider including the Centenary Hospital Antenatal Clinic on 5124 7625 or Birth Suite on 5124 7444 for more information.

You can find out more information on what pregnancy care and birthing options are available, what you should bring to hospital or when to call online.

COVID-19 information for pregnant women

For the latest information, please read the COVID-19 information for pregnant women fact sheet.

Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit continues to provide support to women as usual and will continue to see patients referred from the Emergency Department and from General Practitioners. Women who experience a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and early pregnancy problems will continue to be provided with the same support.

We’re here for you at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Boon Lim, Clinical Director, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Michelle Thinius, Assistant Director of Midwifery from the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children at Canberra Health Services shares how we're supporting families during the COVID-19 response.

Gynaecology Outpatient Clinics

Clinics at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

General Gynaecology Clinics, Colposcopy Clinics and Outpatient Hysteroscopy Clinics continue to be provided but at a reduced capacity. We have reduced the frequency and number of appointments to ensure social distancing. We have set up online gynaecology clinics through Telehealth for non-face to face follow up consultations.

Neonatology at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

To provide increased protection to all babies, families and staff in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (SCN) as a result of COVID-19, we have made some changes temporarily.

Expressed Breast Milk, breast feeding and skin to skin time are important in the care provided for babies in the nursery. Parents will be supported by our team to participate in these activities while social distancing guidelines remain in place.

We will continue to provide the same care for babies admitted to NICU and SCN. Babies will be discharged home when they are clinically ready. Services providing support and follow-up after discharge will continue to be provided.

While social distancing is required, where possible, the Growth and Development Follow-up Clinic appointments are being done by telephone.

The advice around visiting related to COVID-19 and social distancing may change, please check with the nurse caring for your baby.

Paediatrics at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

Due to COVID-19, we have changed the way we are delivering paediatric outpatient services and clinics.

We have reduced the number of outpatient consultations in line with current restrictions and, where possible, are conducting consultations via Telehealth. Initial consultations are generally face-to-face and followed up via Telehealth if you and your doctor agree that is suitable in your circumstances.

Essential clinic visits are continuing as normal for issues such as fractures, burns, postsurgical reviews, and subspecialist clinics where necessary.

Paediatric day stay services are continuing.  To support these services, we have developed a paediatric outreach service to reduce the need for hospital visits, particularly for vulnerable children and families. One of our staff members will be in touch with you if this service is suitable for your family.

Paediatric surgery has been restricted to emergencies and urgent cases. These restrictions will be progressively lifted over coming weeks. If your child’s surgery was postponed, you will be contacted to make a new appointment once the restriction on that surgery is lifted.

We recognise that during this time you may want to keep children at home rather than bringing them to hospital to seek advice on their illness/es. We want to reassure you that hospitals are safe and welcoming, particularly for children in need. If you think your child may need hospital care, please bring them in or contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for advice. For more information and to find the right care for when your child is unwell visit Your health options.

Canberra Maternity Options

When you find out you’re pregnant, call 5124 9977 to book an appointment with a midwife.

Find more information on pregnancy care and birthing options.

Early pregnancy information sessions

Due to the current restrictions around mass gatherings, we are offering early pregnancy information sessions online instead of face-to-face. These sessions are free of charge for Medicare card holders and asylum seekers.

You can register for an information session on Eventbrite to learn more about what ACT public maternity care and birthing options are available to you.

Antenatal appointments

Due to COVID-19, we are now providing telehealth  appointments by phone or video call  for  antenatal  clinic appointments.

The appointment schedule below is only a guide and may differ depending on your needs. Your midwife will be able to advise how they will support you through your pregnancy.

Timing

Your pregnancy care appointments

Early pregnancy

  • Book an appointment with your GP for your early pregnancy care.
  • You can call 5124 9977 to arrange a phone appointment with a midwife to access ACT public maternity care.

10 – 14 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a Canberra Maternity Options midwife. A short face to face appointment may be required depending on your health needs.
  • The Canberra Maternity Options Midwife will help you decide on the maternity care provider that best suits your needs and preferences.

16 – 18 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife from your chosen maternity care provider.
  • Within 10 days of your phone or telehealth appointment, you will have a face to face appointment with a midwife.

18 – 20 weeks

  • You will have your morphology scan.

22 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife.
  • If you have a higher risk pregnancy you may have a face-to-face appointment at the hospital.

27-28 weeks

  • You will have a short face to face appointment with a midwife within the community.
  • If you have a higher risk pregnancy you may have a face to face appointment with a doctor in the hospital.

32 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife.

34 – 36 weeks

  • You will have a short face to face appointment with a midwife within the community.
  • If you have a higher risk pregnancy you may have a face to face appointment with a doctor in the hospital.

38 weeks

  • You will have a phone or telehealth appointment with a midwife.

40 – 41 weeks

  • You will have a face to face appointment with a doctor in hospital.
Childbirth education at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children

We are offering our “Pregnancy to Parenting” and “Next Birth after Caesarean” sessions online via WebEx instead of face-to-face. If you are having your baby at Centenary Hospital for Women and Children you can book into a childbirth education session on Eventbrite. Your midwife can also let you know when and how you will be able to book online for these sessions.

Maternal and Child Health

First home visits

We will continue to support new mothers through our first home visit service. To help keep you, your family and our staff safe this service has changed slightly.

A MACH nurse will contact you by phone within 5 working days to arrange a visit from the MACH nurse.

Contact the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support line on 5124 1775 if you have not received a call from a MACH Nurse, or talk about any concerns you may have for your baby’s or your own health.

Please leave a voicemail with your name, best contact number and reason for your call and a health professional will call you back.

Booked clinic appointments

Child health checks are free for all families with children in the ACT through MACH nurse clinics. 

Our MACH nurses can check your child’s development and growth and can discuss any of your concerns providing information and advice on parenting, child health, breastfeeding, nutrition and feeding issues, keeping your child safe, toddler behaviour issues, adjustment to parenthood and maternal emotional health. 

To book an appointment, please call the CHI line on 02 5124 9977 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and 8am and 3:30pm on Wednesdays. 

Please remember to bring your child’s Personal Health Record (Blue Book) to your appointment. 

If you have specific concerns about your child’s growth and development, behaviour, sleep or feeding and wish to speak to a MACH Nurse, please phone the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support Line on 5124 1775 from Monday to Friday. 

Understanding Your Baby Group

You are invited to attend an online Understanding Your Baby information session. Understanding Your Baby sessions provide information on infant behaviour, development and cue-based care to support feeding, play, sleep and settling. These sessions are for families with babies 0-3 months old and 4-8 months old.

You can view this video at home, at a time suitable for you and your family.

Recorded presentations can be accessed using the links and access codes below:

It is best viewed on a laptop, desktop, or iPad/tablet.

Subtitles can be turned on or off.  If you click on the full screen icon on the bottom right of the screen, then you can click the “CC” icon (the closed caption) to turn off the subtitles.

You can also call the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support line on 5124 1775 to speak to a MACH nurse about any concerns you may have with feeding, growth and development or settling concerns.

Leave a voicemail with your name, best contact number and reason for your call and a health professional will call you back within one business day. An appointment will be made for you to have a telephone or Telehealth consultation with an experienced MACH nurse.

New Parents Groups

New Parent Groups have resumed online.

The New Parent Group is a three week program run by our MACH nurses. It gives you the opportunity to meet other first-time parents with babies of a similar age, discuss topics and issues about parenting and caring for yourself and your baby and find out how to access services available to you in the community. This group is usually available to parents of infants under four months.

To make a booking when COVID restrictions ease, call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

Breastfeeding

We are committed to helping you breastfeed your baby.

If you are having difficulties or are seeking advice for breastfeeding your baby, please call the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support line on 5124 1775 to speak to a MACH nurse.  An appointment can be made for you to have a consultation with a Maternal and Child Health nurse or midwife (this may be via telehealth).

Early Childhood Immunisation Clinic

The Early Childhood Immunisation Clinics are still operating. Immunising your child is important. Babies and children need to be immunised on time so they can get the best possible protection against preventable diseases.

Please note that due to current visitor restrictions in health facilities, the number of adults attending the appointment with the child to be immunised is limited to one person at present.

To make an appointment call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

You can find out more information about this service on the Babies and Children Immunisation page.

Nutrition

Our Nutrition Service provides free nutrition assessment, counselling and advice for children, young people and pregnant women. This service is available to children and young people under 25 years, women during pregnancy and women up to 2 years after giving birth.

The nutrition team is currently providing phone appointments and accepting referrals for the following:

  • poor growth,
  • food allergy and food intolerance,
  • eating disorders,
  • hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) during pregnancy,
  • developmental eating delays (e.g. delayed texture progression,)
  • childhood obesity with medical concerns, and
  • childhood iron deficiency.

To book a phone appointment, please call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

If your referral reason does not fit within these criteria, we encourage you to look at our nutrition factsheets and booklets. You may also like to contact a private dietitian by visiting the Dietitians Association of Australia website or contact the University of Canberra’s Health Hub by phoning 6201 5843. You may also wish to contact your GP for further care at this time.

Fussy Eaters Group

The Fussy Eaters Group is an on-line  live webinar group session where you can discuss your experience of having a fussy eater in your family. To book a place in an online fussy eaters’ group, please call Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

Making a Solid Start Group

The Making a Solid Start Group is a n on-line  live webinar group session run by a Dietitian and Speech Pathologist where you can learn more about introducing solids to your baby. For more information on the online Making a Solid Start group, please contact the Child Development Service on 6207 8884. Bookings can be made online at https://childdevelopmentservice.simplybook.me/v2.

Community Nutrition Requests

Previously, our dietitians provided presentations and workshops on various nutrition topics.

Due to the current restrictions around mass gatherings we are unable to run this service face-to-face. Depending on the request, we may be able to offer an online group during this time. Please complete a Request for Nutrition Involvement Form and send it to WYC-Nutrition@act.gov.au if you are interested in an online group.

School Kids Intervention Program

The School Kids Intervention Program (SKIP) is a multidisciplinary, family-centred service for children aged 4 to 12 years who are overweight or obese. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children and their families through regular access to a paediatric specialist, a paediatric dietitian, an exercise physiologist and a psychologist.

The SKIP team is currently providing phone appointments.

For more information, please contact the SKIP Coordinator on 02 5124 1402 or email SKIP@act.gov.au.

For more information on eligibility and making a referral please see the SKIP website here https://health.act.gov.au/services-and-programs/women-youth-and-children/children-and-youth/school-kids-intervention-program

School based programs

School Youth Health Nurse Program

The School Youth Health Nurse aims to promote positive health outcomes for young people and their families.

We support ACT Government high school communities to adopt a whole-of-school approach to address contemporary health and social issues that face young people and their families. The goal is to help young people have a safe and healthy transition into adulthood.

While schools are closed a modified service will be provided.

For more information please email CHS.SYHN@act.gov.au.

Kindergarten Health Check

All Kindergarten students who attend an ACT school are offered a Kindergarten Health check. The health check includes a physical component that is delivered in schools across the year and includes vision, hearing, height, weight, and Body Mass Index (BMI).

Kindergarten Health Checks are now being completed during Term 4, 2021. For enquiries about the Kindergarten Health Check Program, please call 5124 1585.

Healthcare Access at School (HAAS)

Healthcare Access at School (HAAS) provides Registered Nurses to support school staff to safely care for the complex and/or invasive health needs of children attending ACT Government schools from preschool through to college.

Modified support is available when schools are closed, the HAAS program will resume normal service delivery when school returns. 

For more information or to make a referral email HAAS@act.gov.au.

High School Immunisation

The School Health Team provides the National Immunisation Program vaccines to students in Years 7 and 10:

  • Year 7 students receive the vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, two doses six months apart and the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (dTpa) vaccine single dose.
  • Year 10 students receive the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine-single dose.

Round one vaccines for year 7 students and year 10 students have been completed. The second dose of the HPV and dTpa vaccines due in Term 4, 2021 are being rescheduled and a Year 8 catch up program will be offered at school in Term 1, 2022. Letters have been sent out to schools and parents with more information.

For enquiries about the High School Immunisation Program please visit the Canberra Health Services Immunisation webpage or contact the School Health Team on 5124 1585.

Children’s Hearing Service

Children’s Hearing services may be modified during periods of lockdown, for enquiries about the Children’s Hearing Service please call 5124 1585.

Children’s Asthma Education Service

Provides children, adolescents (up to 18 years) and their families with free support to manage asthma. Registered Nurses:

  • provide education on asthma and Asthma First Aid, how asthma medications work and when to use them
  • support families to manage wheezing in the first years of life
  • support children to recognise their symptoms and learn to manage their asthma
  • support adolescents to manage their asthma independently.

The Children’s Asthma Education Service is available to families via clinic appointments or Telehealth.

For more information and to make a Telehealth or clinic appointment with the Children’s Asthma Education Service please contact Central Health Intake on 5124 9977.

All children should have a current Asthma Action Plan – available through their GP.

For more information on asthma visit National Asthma Council of Australia.

Allied health services

Early Parenting Counselling Service

The Early Parenting Counselling Service has changed the way our counselling services are delivered to keep you and your family safe. The service is providing counselling and psychosocial support via phone and telehealth for people who are pregnant, partnered to a pregnant person and/ or parenting young children, experiencing challenges such as:

  • adjusting to being a parent
  • dealing with stress that can make parenting more difficult
  • connecting with your baby and toddler
  • concerns about your young child’s wellbeing
  • bonding, attachment and positive parenting practices
  • emotional wellbeing for expectant mothers and fathers
  • managing antenatal and postnatal anxiety, distress and depression
  • experiences of grief and loss
  • coping with a difficult or traumatic birth experience
  • connecting with other support services
  • family or relationship challenges in the early parenting years
  • concerns about Family Violence
  • feeling isolated from family, friends or the community
  • coping with having a baby or young child with developmental delays, disabilities, or additional needs.

If you need support, contact the Pregnancy and Early Parenting Support Line on 51241775 Monday to Friday 8.30am and 5.00pm.

Referrals by professionals can be made through Central Health Intake on  5124 9977.

Eye and vision screening

Canberra Health Services offers eye and vision screening services for children from birth to 6 years. Our services include vision assessment, eye movement assessment and binocular vision tests.

You can access this service with a referral from your GP or MACH nurse if your child has:

  • a vision of 6/9 or less in one or both eyes
  • an obvious or latent squint
  • uneven eye movements.

Please make an appointment by calling Central Health Intake on 5124 9977 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Please remember to bring your child’s Blue Book to your appointment, as well as their glasses and referral letter.

Physiotherapy

Our physiotherapy service has changed the way our services are delivered to keep you and your family safe. We are offering physiotherapy support for essential assessments and treatments currently.

For women from 3 to 12 months postnatal, and infants up to 12 months of age this includes:

  • ultrasound treatment for mastitis treatment for blocked ducts
  • infant assessment (head shape, neck issues and positional talipes)
  • postnatal women suffering acute pain with mobilisation and significant pelvic floor / continence issues.

These services are provided via phone or telehealth. A physiotherapist may determine that a face to face appointment is required, and if so, will contact you directly, following a referral.

Referrals can be made by postnatal women or health professionals through the Early Pregnancy and Parenting Support Line on 5124 1775 between 8.00am and 5.00pm weekdays

Important information

For women who are experiencing pain and/or apparent mastitis, and who cannot wait for an appointment on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, we recommend you contact your GP or a private physiotherapy practice.

Community Paediatric and Child Health Service

If you are awaiting an appointment and you need advice during the lockdown, please contact the Child Health Targeted Support Service Intake and support  line during business hours, Monday - Friday on 5124 2712.

Your treating General Practitioner or a medical specialist can still make a referral to our service, which will be considered and prioritised based on age and developmental needs. Referrals can be sent through to Central Health Intake at CHIintake@act.gov.au or faxed to 02 5124 1082.

Child at Risk Health Unit

The Child at Risk Health Unit (CARHU) continues to provide medical examinations, health screens, and therapy for children and counselling support to parents and/or carers regarding concerns of child abuse or neglect.

Referral and telephone support is available through the Child Health Targeted Support Service Intake and support line during business hours, Monday to Friday on 5124 2712.

For after-hours assistance, please contact a Child at Risk Medical Consultant through the Canberra Hospital switchboard on 5124 0000.

Women’s Health Service

In response to COVID-19, the Women’s Health Service is offering counselling and nursing care using telehealth and telephone.

To make a referral for an appointment with a counsellor or a nurse you can call 5124 1787 from 9.00am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Counselling support is available if you have experienced domestic and family violence, abuse and or neglect in childhood and/or adulthood. You may also wish to talk to a counsellor about managing the effects of social isolation, discuss any anxieties, feelings or distress you might be experiencing that is related to your previous experiences of trauma, and to enhance your coping capacity during this period of time.

Please note, this is not a crisis phone line and if you require urgent assistance please call 000, Access Mental Health on 1800 629 354 or the Domestic Violence Crisis Support line on 6280 0900.

Page last updated on: 11 Mar 2022