State’s first clinic to transform care for GV children

GV Health opened the state’s first clinic solely dedicated to treating Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on Friday 27 July.

The new service, which is being opened in conjunction with the PATCHES Paediatrics Group in Western Australia, provides an all-encompassing service to diagnose and assess children who may be affected by FASD.

FASD is an umbrella term for a range of disorders which result directly from prenatal exposure to alcohol.

The new GV Health clinic has obtained Federal Government funding to operate 6 sessions a year and is made up of a multidisciplinary team of a Paediatrician, Neuropsychologist and Speech Pathologist.

GV Health’s Clinical Director of Paediatrics, Dr. Dan Garrick, has praised the opening of the clinic.

“Having all of these specialists available in a ‘one-stop’ clinic format makes assessment much smoother for families who previously would have had to travel to Melbourne and attend multiple appointments,” he said.

“Our clinic will be a Paediatric clinic, accepting referrals up to 16 years of age,” Dr Garrick said.

GV Health’s FASD Clinical Coordinator, Kim Cowen, has played an integral role in the coordination of the clinic’s launch, saying it will play a vital role in treating some of the Goulburn Valley’s most vulnerable children.

“We have received funding for 12 sessions over the next two years and we’re excited to see how this service will enhance the care we provide to people in the local community,” she said.

GV Health has been working with the PATCHES Paediatrics Group in Western Australia to establish the clinic in our region.

PATCHES delivers child development, disability and early intervention services with government and non-government providers.

The Directors of the PATCHES team are Dr James Fitzpatrick (paediatrician) and Associate Professor Carmela Pestell (Neuropsychologist). They are recognised clinical and research leaders in the field of FASD.

Patches runs FASD programs in the Pilbara, Darwin, Adelaide, Hobart and now in Shepparton.