Pregnancy can be an exciting but sometimes worrying time and at the moment, women may need extra reassurance that it's safe to visit their doctor, midwife or clinic for antenatal care.

That's why it's vitally important in all areas of practice, to have up-to-date information and evidence-based guidelines, so our patients can be confident that we are well-informed and well-prepared.

While it’s important to provide support to patients during this challenging time, it’s also important that clinicians look out for each other. Check in with your colleagues to make sure they’re ok and importantly, make sure you’re ok.

Information for mothers and families

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Aim of the clinical community of practice

Health and Social Policy (HSPB) will provide an opportunity for sharing of ideas, strategies, local solutions and concerns with respect to COVID-19 pandemic preparedness.

The community of practice is multidisciplinary and includes representation from all districts, relevant networks and pillars. It enables clinicians and clinical managers in maternity, NICU, special care nurseries and child and family health services from all districts and networks to provide guidance to the system, and to escalate matters that require a statewide or system response.

The aim of the community of practice is to:

  • support clinicians to network and share strategies, local solutions and issues with respect to pandemic preparedness for maternity, NICU, special care nurseries and child and family health services.
  • identify, prioritise and escalate issues related to COVID-19 which are actually or potentially affecting clinicians providing maternity, NICU, special care nurseries and child and family health services that require a statewide or system response
  • share approved advice and resources on the response to COVID-19 that can be circulated within all districts and networks.

Community of practice: Mail Box: Clinicans raise issues that require a state-wide or system response, share strategies, local solutions. Reviewed daily by governance group and allocated to appropriate group/function. Advisory groups include Child and Family Health Advisory Group, Obstetric Anaesthetists, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialists, Neonatal Working Group, AMIHS and BSF Network, COVID-19 Maternity Working Group and Clinical Excellence Commission. Issues are presented to Senior Clinical Leads for discussion, direction and finalisation of advice for broadcast. This is broadcast to clinicians in the Community of Practice.  

The community of practice has a number of elements that include:

  • a regular broadcast to the entire membership summarising current issues being addressed, the status of actions to address issues, and planned next steps.
  • opportunity for members to raise issues, questions and ideas by email at
  • a number of interactive advisory groups that contribute to defining issues and problem solving
  • an executive committee that includes Clinical leads and COP secretariat and coordination staff to manage work to ensure issues are addressed.


  • Executive sponsor: Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Resources
  • Clinical leads
    • Maternity and newborn: Professor Michael Nicholl, Clinical Director, Maternal Neonatal and Women's Health Network, North Sydney Local Health District and Senior Clinical Advisor Obstetrics, NSW Health
    • NICU: Dr Srinivas Bolisetty, lead Clinician and Senior Neonatologist, Royal Hospital for Women
    • Special Care Nurseries: Dr Catherine Allgood, Senior Staff Specialist, South Western Sydney Local Health District
    • Child and Family Health: A/Professor Elisabeth Murphy, Director, Child, Youth and Family, Northern Sydney Local Health District
  • Community of practice secretariat: Ms Deborah Matha, Director Maternity, Child and Family Health –, work: (02) 9424 5866, mobile: 0427 201 920
  • Secretariat support
    • Ms April Deering, Manager, Child and Family Health, Maternity, Child and Family Health and Social Policy Branch –, work: (02) 9424 5764, mobile: 0439 501 385
    • Ms Janice Oliver, Manager, Maternity and Newborn, Maternity, Child and Family Health and Social Policy Branch –, work: (02) 9461 7726, mobile: 0439 386 075
  • Key stakeholders include: Operational and Clinical Leaders and Managers from Local Health Districts, Specialist Health Networks, Pillars and Networks delivering or supporting delivery of Maternity, NICU, Special Care Nursery, and Child and Family Health Services in NSW and ACT.

Health and Social Policy will:

  • log issues raised through the COP mailbox and the Advisory Committees, and regularly report on active issues in the log to Strategic Reform and Planning
  • resolve and report back to the COP in broadcasts on progress to resolve issues within the scope of the COP policy areas, and provide reports on progress of issues escalated outside the COP
  • escalate issues to other COPS where they fall within the scope of another COP.

Escalate issues with system implications raised by the community of practice to Strategic Reform and Planning. Key information will be collected and distributed through, which will be monitored by Strategic Reform and Planning.

Collated issues/advice will be escalated by Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary through to the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) and/or the State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC) as appropriate.

PHEOC and SHEOC responses will be provided to Strategic Reform and Planning and then to the community of practice secretariat(s) for reporting back to the COP.

Weekly community of practice Updates will be provided to NSW Health Chief Executives.

Clinical leads

Each community of practice will have a clinical lead appointed by Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Resources.

The clinical lead will:

  • assist with the facilitation of the community of practice
  • work with clinical peers in the districts and networks to share ideas and develop appropriate response strategies
  • provide expert advice and guidance to the system and Ministry as required
  • escalate relevant matters to the Ministry that require a statewide or system response
  • provide expert advice to respond to media enquiries.

This community of practice scope is not

A group which is able to endorse statewide changes or make decisions that impacts a unit or system or allocate funding to recommendations.

This community of practice is open to Medical, Nursing and Clinical Network Leaders and Managers working in Maternity, NICU, Special Care Nurseries, and Child and Family Health. As a minimum it will include representation from all districts and networks. However, with consideration membership may be extended more broadly to include all interested NSW Health staff as well as professional colleges, private providers/clinicians and other non-government organisations as appropriate to the clinical speciality.

To join the community of practice participants should email:

Frequency of the community of practice

The community of practice holds a joint meeting with the NICU, Special Care Nurseries and Child and Family Health Communities of Practice.

The community of practice publishes a fortnightly broadcast on a Thursday at 9am. An agenda will be provided each fortnight which will include the log on details for the participants. Meetings commenced 26 March 2020.

Guidelines and resources

Page Updated: Friday 5 June 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW