About Clinical Networks

Clinical Networks (CNs) include experienced child health professionals from a range of health related disciplines, who work collaboratively to provide leadership, resources and best practice recommendations across child health in Aotearoa.

The Clinical Network Programme aims to improve equitable access to healthcare and health outcomes for all tamariki and rangatahi. The 2021-2026 PSNZ Strategy provides the direction when developing their work plans.

CNs have been developed in partnership with the Paediatric Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) – Te Kāhui Mātai Arotamariki o Aotearoa - and are funded by the Ministry of Health. They are guided by the New Zealand Child and Youth Clinical Network (NZCYCN) Governance Group and PSNZ Executive.

Currently there are 12 CNs focussing on improving child health outcomes in areas including diabetes, child protection, eczema, palliative care and sleep medicine. Sometimes the NZCYCN Governance Group are requested to establish a Clinical Network to focus on a single area for development. Recent examples include the Community Tube Feeding Guidelines (CN active 2015-2019) and Newborn Disorders of Sex Development Guidelines (CN active 2017-2020). Commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership and equity informs the direction for work plans. There is a deliberate shift to strengthen the commitment to include Maori, Pasifka, consumers, people with disability and others to ensure partnership approaches inform all work from a range of perspectives.  

CNs identify opportunities to improve equity of access and outcomes through the development of resources to assist with referral and treatment pathways. Whānau are empowered to partner in their child’s care through development of consumer information.

Clinical networks also provide a national voice to promote service improvements where child health issues and gaps are recognised in health service provision. This can be through submissions and consultation with Government and other healthcare providers. 

Many of the networks have developed unique strategies to support professional education, such as webinars and recorded sessions on YouTube. The network’s newsletter, CYNeT, is produced twice a year and is delivered to more than 750 health professionals.

A guide to establishing a structured approach for the development of national Child and Youth Clinical Networks can be obtained by contacting the Clinical Networks Support Manager, Karyn Sanson, karyn.sanson@paediatrics.org.nz