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Contemp Nurse. 2011 Dec;40(1):106-17. doi: 10.5172/conu.2011.40.1.106.

Commonalities and challenges: a review of Australian state and territory maternity and child health policies.

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School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Nurses and midwives play a key role in providing universal maternal, child and family health services in Australia. However, the Australian federation of states and territories has resulted in policy frameworks that differ across jurisdictions and services that are fragmented across disciplines and sectors. This paper reports the findings of a study that reviewed and synthesised current Australian service policy or frameworks for maternity and child health services in order to identify the degree of commonality across jurisdictions and the compatibility with international research on child development. Key maternity and child health service policy documents in each jurisdiction were sourced. The findings indicate that current policies were in line with international research and policy directions, emphasising prevention and early intervention, continuity of care, collaboration and integrated services. The congruence of policies suggests the time is right to consider the introduction of a national approach to universal maternal, child health services.

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