Information for Parents

Aims and principles

Paediatrics adheres to the philosophies of Ballarat Health Services: Excellence, Collaboration, Compassion, Accountability and Integrity.

We provide paediatric and neonatal (newborn) services for the entire Grampians region.

Staffing and contact information at Ballarat Health Services

Contact information

  • Ballarat health Services switchboard - 53204000
  • 2 south (Paediatric & Adolescent Unit) - 53204253
  • Special Care Nursery - 53204801
  • Paediatric outpatient enquiries (call centre) - 53204221


BHS Paediatrics is run by specifically trained paediatric and newborn medical, nursing and and allied health staff. Our staffing includes:

  • Medical
    • 10 consultant (specialist) paediatricians, senior paediatric specialist trainees (Fellow and Registrars) and junior trainees (Residents). Our consultant paediatricians are:
      • Dr Shabna Rajapaksa (co-Head of Paediatrics)
      • Dr Austen Erasmus (co-Head of Paediatrics)
      • Dr David Tickell
      • Dr Fiona Noble
      • Dr Mark Nethercote
      • Dr Shabna Rajapaksa
      • Dr Austen Erasmus
      • Dr Lakshman Doddamani
      • Dr Manish Agarwal
      • Dr Alicia Williams
      • Dr Megan Freeman
      • Dr Duaa Gaafar
  • Nursing
    • Paediatric & Adolescent Unit (2 south) specialist trained nurses provide 24 hour cover for most paediatric medical and surgical conditions.
      • Clinton Griffiths (Nurse Unit Manager)
    • Special Care Nursery (5 west) specialist trained nurses provide 24 hour cover for unwell and premature newborns.
      • Luke McEldrew (Nurse Unit Manager)

Services offered at Ballarat Health Services


  • Paediatric and Adolescent ward (2 south)
    • We provide acute medical and surgical care in a 20-bed unit for all patients under the age of 18 years and over 28 days of age. We have specialist paediatric trained nurses and a 24 hour paediatric medical team providing care in a child friendly hospital environment with a zero tolerance to any adult patients being admitted within paediatric beds.
    • The P&AU caters for most paediatric medical conditions such as asthma, bronchiolitis, croup, gastroenteritis, seizures, diabetes, etc. We have strong links with the Royal Children's Hospital and Monash Medical Centre for our medical care of less common conditions, with the majority of our medical staff being trained in these centres.
    • We have surgical services covering ENT (ear, nose and throat), orthopaedics, urology, dental and general surgery, with paediatric medical backup as needed. We also maintain strong links with the Royal Children's Hospital surgical units for surgical care that is outside the scope of BHS.
  • Special Care Nursery (5 west)
    • We provide a specialty built 12-bed unit for any newborns under the age of 28 days (neonates), with care provided for those down to 32 weeks gestation and can cater for most high-risk babies.
    • We maintain strong links with the tertiary neonatal services in Melbourne (Royal Children's, Monash, Women's and Mercy Hospitals), and use specialty transfer services (PIPER) for any neonatal transfers that require higher levels of care.
    • We do not offer neonatal surgical services, transferring these babies to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.


  • General paediatric clinics
    • BHS offers mutiple public general paediatric clinics each week. Referral to these clinics must be from a medical practitioner (GP or specialist).
      • Once a referral is received, our paediatric doctors will 'triage' the referral, determining the urgency of the appointment based on the clinical information provided - please note that clinic waiting times can be long.
      • You will receive notification of your booked appointment time by mail.
      • You will receive a reminder text within 48 hours of your booked appointment.
      • Paediatrics Ballarat with you any medical or allied health reports/assessments, test results, school reports and/or letters from teachers, your child's 'green book' or 'blue book' (maternal and child health nurse book) and any other relevant information.
      • Failure to attend two (2) booked appointments without notification at Paediatrics Ballarat of your booked time will result in your care being transferred back to your GP.
    • Private paediatric clinics are available through Paediatrics Ballarat.
  • Subspecialist paediatric clinics
    • BHS offers multiple public paediatric subspecialty clinics including Child at Risk, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Hip clinic, Feeding clinic, VPRS (Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Services), Oncology and Genetics.
    • Several other paediatric subspecialty clinics are offered through the Ballarat Community Health Centre (Developmental and Behavioural, Immigrant Health) and Paediatrics Ballarat (Respiratory, Cardiology, Neurology, Endocrinology).
  • Paediatric surgical clinics
    • BHS does not offer specific paediatric surgical clinics, however many of our adult surgical services also cater for paediatric cases (ENT, Orthopaedics, General Surgery, Urology, Dental).
    • For surgical cases that are beyond the scope of BHS services, or for children that have complex underlying medical issues, referral may be made to the Royal Children's Hospital.
  • Child abuse and sexual assault assessments
    • The BHS paediatric team offers an assessment service for children in whom there is suspected or proven child abuse and/or sexual assault, as well as those in out of home care. This service has been set up in collaboration with the VFPMS (Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service).
    • For those wishing to access assessments:
      • Acute assessments of child abuse/assault or severe neglect causing medical complications - the child should be taken to the Police first, then arrangements for a medical assessment will be coordinated.
      • Non-acute assessments - referral to our service can be made through your local general practitioner.Please do not bring your child directly to the Emergency Department unless they have sustained signficant medical injury that requires immediate attention.

Community Services and Support Groups

  • Community Services for children offered in the Ballarat and Grampians region can be access through the Referrals section in the Community Services index. These include:
    • Parenting support
    • Infant sleep and settling
    • Breast feeding / lactation consultant
    • Education resources
    • Tutoring

Parent support groups

  • Pinarc Disability Support 53291361 (Rebecca Paton - Parent Support Coordinator)
    • Ballarat (1828 Sturt Street, Alfredton)
      • Autism Parent Connection Group 
      • NDIS Parent Support Group
      • SCODA (Supporting Carers or Disabled Adults)
    • Ararat
      • Ararat & District Carer Support Group
    • Bacchus Marsh
      • Bacchus Marsh Disability Parent Connection Group


Contacting paediatric medical services

  • Please note that the paediatric medical team is not available for direct contact unless your child is a current inpatient or you have been asked to contact the team. Your General Practitioner or the local Emergency Department should be your first contact if you are concerned about your child, and they can then contact the paediatric medical team as required.

My child is unwell

  • Your General Practitioner or the local Emergency Department should be your first contact if you are concerned about your child, and they can then contact the paediatric medical team as required.

Parent information sheets (Kids Health Info)

  • Medical information sheets for most paediatric conditions can be accessed through the Kids Health Info link.


  • Families often have questions or concerns regarding immunisations. For further information please refer to the Immunisation questions pre-referral guideline.
    • Note that the paediatric unit does not offer a service for administering immunisations - please contact your Maternal and Child Health Nurse or General Practitioner for this.

Medication/drug information

  • Many resources exist for information on medicines, although it is important to obtain reliable information from reputable sources.
    • Medicines for Children is a UK based website that has a lot of useful parent friendly information on many medicines.
    • Your local pharmacist can also answer many questions regarding medications.

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