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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 3629..


(3) Are there similar concerns in the ACT to those found in a recent study in New Zealand that doctors and midwives need more training and education about red reflex screening of infants with results showing many do not conduct the test correctly and do not fully understand its importance.

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

This question refers to the process of examining infant's eyes at the time of birth to exclude such morbidities as cataract, retinoblastoma, glaucoma or other congenital eye problems.

(1) No concerns have been raised with The Canberra Hospital (TCH).

(2) Clinical examination of the eyes is part of the newborn examination prior to discharge at TCH. The examination may be undertaken by a resident, registrar or midwife trained in complete examination of the newborn.

The Obstetric and Gynaecology resident or the Neonatal Registrar conducts almost all newborn checks also known as the "Well Baby Assessment", which includes the red reflex. These checks usually occur on the day of discharge which can be on day one or up to day four or beyond particularly if conducted in the Centre for Newborn Care.

Formal ophthalmologic examination is undertaken by a consultant who regularly attends the Centre for Newborn Care if an abnormality is found at the initial examination.

Further examination is undertaken by the GP at 6 weeks or by hospital staff if the baby represents in a follow-up clinic.

All new residents are provided with training in examination of the newborn and medical students are regularly examined in this context during their medical school training.

Midwives/Nurses have to undergo a "Well Baby Assessment"study day run through the Staff Development Unit at The Canberra Hospital. They have to perform numerous baby checks under supervision of either an Obstetrics and Gynaecology resident or Neonatology Registrar, and then undergo an annual competency review.

(3) Are there similar concerns in the ACT to those found in a recent study in New Zealand that doctors and midwives need more training and education about red reflex screening of infants with results showing many do not conduct the test correctly and do not fully understand its importance.

TCH is unaware of significant omissions to date in relation to doctors.

With regards to nurses and midwives, to date, there have been no incidents in relation to red reflex checking as only those midwives and nurses who have completed the competency program conduct the test.

(Extract from Newborn examination manual is available at the Chamber Support Office)

Health-asthma

(Question No 468)

Mr Smyth asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 17 August 2005:


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