Merry Christmas to all Friends of PATCHES Paediatrics

It has been an incredibly successful year for PATCHES Paediatrics. We thank colleagues at WA Country Health Service and Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services; the fantastic PATCHES clinicians and coordinators; our generous funders and research partners; remote community schools; and most importantly families and children for being part of service coordination activities in Broome, Fitzroy Crossing, and from 2015 Derby and Halls Creek.

The PATCHES Process

20141213_pic_Patches Service Sites 2013_2015


Spotlight on staff and clinicians… coordinating health services for kids in outback communities begins and ends with building and maintaining relationships….

The Fitzroy Valley:

In 2014 we farewelled Dr Ruth Kinniburgh-White, who in her time with PATCHES cultivated a team-based approach to child health coordination in the Fitzroy Valley. Ruth used her unique skill set in listening and understanding, and many cups of tea, to coordinate a child health process involving WACHS Allied Health, Paediatrics & Child Health, and Child & Adolescent Health clinicians; Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services; Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre; Boab Health Services; Baya Gawiy; and remote schools of Fitzroy Crossing, Bayulu, Yakanarra and Yungnora communities. Well done Ruth!! PATCHES then welcomed coordinator Gayle Segar and Aboriginal Therapist Yolanda Skeen, based at Nindilingarri, who continue the important work of bringing families into the centre of a coordinated child health service approach in the Fitzroy Valley.


In June 2014 PATCHES was approached by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS), through Carers WA, to coordinate a process of enabling children in the Kimberley to access the Better Start for Children with Disability and Helping Children with Autism programs. In just 3 months, through the hard work of Dr Kathryn Thorburn, by September 2014 we had consulted and planned with local service providers, registered as a service provider panel member with DSS, engaged a team of Allied Health and Psychology clinicians, and commenced early intervention service delivery in Broome. A highly effective early intervention team has worked together including Clinical Psychologists Dr Robyn Bradbury, Dr Jonson Moyle, and Jeremy Marriott; Occupational Therapist Chris Phillips; Speech Language Pathologist Victoria Stroud and Physiotherpist Kate McMahon.

Derby and Halls Creek:

From 2015 Dr Shveta Patel will incorporate the Kimberley Developmental Paediatric Service, that she has run since 2012, under the PATCHES banner. Dr Patel, along with the father of rural paediatrics Dr Rex Henderson, and PATCHES Director Dr James Fitzpatrick, will support our Broome-based paediatric colleagues to provide outreach services to Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Valley and Halls Creek


The current Kimberley 2015 outreach schedule can be viewed via our interactive calendar at



Pilbara, Port Hedland:

Patches are working with clinical colleagues in Port Hedland to organise a number of multidisciplinary clinics in early 2015. We hope that through this process an ongoing role for PATCHES in the Pilbara region may develop.


Once again, thank you:

Nindilingarri CEO Maureen Carter who continues to provide support and cultural guidance in all that we do

Kimberley Population Health Unit’s incredible Allied Health teams and team leaders Kristen Campbell, Gemma Fisher and Kato Matthews

Kimberley Paediatric & Child Health team’s Nurse Practitioner extraordinaire Angela Fisher, lead Paediatricians Dr Melanie Thompson, Dr Gavin Cleland and Dr John Boulton

WA State and Independent Remote Aboriginal Community Schools

Marninwarntikura’s CEO June Oscar and all in the Marulu Unit and Baya Gawiy

Funders CAGES Foundation; Royalties for Regions/WA Country Health Service; Bright Blue Police Commissioner’s Fund for Sick Kids; the McCusker Charitable Foundation; Kimberley Pilbara Medicare Local; Rural Health West; Department for Social Services

Our research home Telethon Kids Institute, and research partners The George Institute and Sydney University

And many, many more…


Looking forward:

In 2015 we will welcome Nikki Hulse as PATCHES Practice Manager. Nikki is an OT with years of experience and her heart in just the right spot. Nikki will be based in Broome and will deliver early intervention services, as well as managing the increasingly robust clinical management systems being introduced. In 2015 we hope to further develop our relationship with Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service, where so much of the important Primary health service delivery for the Kimberley region is delivered and coordinated.

As the PATCHES model grows, we look forward to developing our working relationships with service partners including The Centre for Cerebral Palsy, Therapy Focus, Princess Margaret Hospital and the State Child Development Service.


Wishing all a safe and joyous Christmas and New Year period.


Dr James Fitzpatrick

Director, PATCHES Paediatrics