Childhood obesity is one of the NSW Premier’s 12 Priorities. Overweight or obesity affects almost one in four school-aged children in Australia, with prevalence higher in Western Sydney. Yet services for affected families in this region are sparse and unco-ordinated.
The Sustainable Connections for Overweight and Obesity in Paediatrics (SCOOP) project (funded by the NSW Children’s Healthcare Network – Western Region) aims to: 1) map services currently providing paediatric obesity intervention, 2) improve capacity for multidisciplinary services for children aged 2-14 years with obesity within all levels of healthcare services, and 3) increase utilisation of Weight4KIDS obesity management eLearning program by health professionals. The geographical focus is within the Nepean Blue Mountains and Western Sydney geographical areas of NSW, with a vision for its outcomes to be translated to any region.
The project is following a rigorous clinical redesign methodology provided by the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation, which engages executives, clinicians and patients in a thorough redesign framework. Phases of this methodology are: initiation, diagnostics (assessment of current processes and issues), solution design, implementation and evaluation. Preliminary results (focus groups, interviews) show that staff are very keen to tackle this issue but are disillusioned by several barriers to providing effective treatment: their time, supporting resources and patient family characteristics (such as motivation). Patients report frustration with the accessibility of services and consistency of information delivery. Further data collection is underway.
Redesigning the delivery of weight management services in close consultation with staff and patients ensures that a consistent and co-ordinated approach to childhood obesity management can be successfully implemented and ultimately reduce childhood obesity rates.