A lot is happening with children. We offer you the Child Health edition. We’ve noticed that doctors at the new Perth Children’s Hospital are bunkered down and presumably busy adapting to their new environment. The Hospital opening has been a long time coming and some disillusionment is to be expected from within and without – we hope things iron out for everyone.

Sahara Pittaway (8 years, with medulloblastoma) shakes hands with Dockers player Lachie Neale while Andrew Brayshaw and Captain Starlight (with the balloons) look on? Starlight, are a national organisation that amongst other things, make wishes for sick kids come true.

We live in the Age where people want runs on the board but what ‘runs’ do we give priority to, when the knock-on effect from whatever paediatricians do with kids can have profound effects later in life? The justice system is not a glowing representation of how to do things but early mental intervention can make all the difference here.

Parents of children are fed by the media. They see stories of children losing fingers and toes due to rapidly progressing infections, drug-crazed kids damaging people that love them, and how technology will save the day. Little wonder the parents, who are time-poor like the rest of us, want the antibiotics and to get on with their lives, now!

Time. There is a general rush to get things done in the adult world. For example, we used to put kids in hospital and observe them until they got over their suspected poisoning or that infection that might turn nasty. With beds costing over $1000 a day and other pressures on bed space, more rigor is applied at the door, parenting abilities are assessed, and more people are sent back home.

Under this system, someone will inevitably be off the mark and kids will be the casualty. That’s when we must ensure complaints are listened to and acted on and we have a free fair media. And this despite any politicking!

Meanwhile, whether you are in primary care or a tertiary hospital, successful interventions today can make all the difference tomorrow. And time will too, time to listen. I’m thinking about childhood obesity and the tendency to later diabetes, vaccinations and childhood infections, mental health problems and their social determinants, injury prevention in the car and home, and the diagnosis parents seek of their child’s rare disorder – amongst other things.

We are told children are not young adults when it comes to medicine. This is why we have paediatricians and Perth Childrens Hospital. But people who work there often know of antecedents encountered in primary care in the community and can see long-term savings if we invest in the ‘next generation’.

What a great opportunity for medical cooperation around these vulnerable people, our children!

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