Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017

Other title

Parliamentary Record 5


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 1623 to 1686


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Tuesday 9 May 2017 1654 content and integration of the Northern Territory Child Health Record, the yellow book, is to provide for the update to the content of the paper-based child health record to reflect the NT child health program; to enable the accessibility of the paper-based child health record to all parents and carers to assist in monitoring their childs growth, development and immunisations; and to enable recall functionality for immunisations and health assessments so we can monitor a child regularly until five years of age. For me, a busy mother to two young children, this is vital. It does not matter if you are in an urban part of the Top End or from a more regional or remote community, parents are busy. You have other things to worry about, but you want to ensure you are giving your children the right support, undertaking their assessments and making sure they are up to date with their immunisations. The content of this paperbased record is being developed and is in the design phase for a new paper-based child health record, which will be trialled, and following an evaluation we will roll that out. We will also look to electronically integrate each childs information into the NT My eHealth Record. This consultation and planning has begun on enhancing the yellow book with eHealth capabilities. There is a related national initiative to develop a childhood eHealth record, although the Territory already has a solution there. We are excited with those opportunities. A key component of obtaining a good education is having a healthy body and a health mind. It is recognised that we need to make sure we have healthy children going into those classrooms. I believe it is well recognised that hearing loss in early childhood affects speech and language development and the ability to learn, thereby contributing to poor social and emotional wellbeing, which can lead to behavioural problems. The House of Representatives inquiry into Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system found that hearing loss was a significant contributing factor for Indigenous childrens disengagement with education and their involvement with the justice system. Therefore it is vital that we provide access to hearing services in their early years to help ensure that children are able to access and capitalise when they are provided with education. Newborn hearing screening is provided at the four birthing hospitalsRoyal Darwin Hospital, Gove, Katherine and Alice Springsand coverage for this screening program in the Territory is consistently exceeding the national benchmark at 97%. This program is for the first day or so after the child is born. The hearing team provides that screening test. Both my children participated in this simple test which can pick up long-term and life-changing impacts. I recently visited the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children. A little baby, who I believe is about one year of age, had just had a cochlear implant turned on, allowing him to hear. His issue was picked up at that newborn screening test. That is an example of our health services helping to give our kids the best chance at education. Using that cochlear implant he will be able to hear sounds and be able to speak. Hopefully by the time he attends school and, through speaking to his mother, will be able to hear clearly in the classroom. It is important the Department of Health provides for Territory children, and we are doing that. Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder is something we have spoken about in the House many times, and we have committed to the development of a whole-of-government FASD strategic framework. There is currently no overarching strategy for prevention and awareness in the community about FASD, and only limited clinical and diagnostic support services for children and adults. This framework will acknowledge that FASD encompasses whole-of-life issues. There is much we are doing in terms of health education. Our hospitals are used as teaching hospitals, providing opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students. As well as early intervention and working with families, we are making sure there are opportunities for people who have completed their school education and would like to stay in the Territory and give back to our health system. We operate campuses of the Northern Territory Clinical School of Flinders University of South Australia. Medical, nursing and allied health students receive clinical training at our hospitals. The agency also operates a number of training programs across the Northern Territory. I am also the responsible minister for corrections, and education is also a vital component of rehabilitation, including for those within our corrections system. NT Corrections aims to provide genuine rehabilitation and