Children's Healthcare Australasia was originally called The Association of Paediatric Teaching Hospitals (AAPTC), and was established in 1988.
The founding President was Dr Barry Catchlove who was then the Chief Executive Officer of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. The secretariat’s home was also at Melbourne’s Children’s Hospital. Dr John Yeatman was eventually appointed the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Association.
Others involved at the time of establishment included Mr Ivor Davies (Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth), Mrs Sue Terry (also Princess Margaret) and Dr John Yu (Princess Alexandra Hospital, Sydney, now Westmead Children’s Hospital).
The two main reasons for establishing the Association were:
- To provide a forum for similar hospitals across Australia to compare practices, particularly best practice
- To better position children’s hospitals in funding arrangements
The casemix model that was introduced initially in Victoria was harsh on children’s hospitals. Case weights were inadequate to meet the significant financial demands of providing good inpatient and outpatient care to children and, over the years, significant work has gone into this aspect of the Association’s work. Professor Peter Phelan (Royal Children’s, Melbourne and University of Melbourne) led the casemix development work which Dr Ralph Hanson (Westmead Children’s) assumed in the second decade of the Association’s life.
In 1994-95, following the retirement of Dr Yeatman, the Association was moved to Canberra. The then President was Mr Jim Birch, Chief Executive of Adelaide Children’s Hospital, who had seen the benefits of a small association of hospitals – the newly created Women’s Hospitals Australia (WHA) – working in the nation’s capital. Ms Anne Cahill was appointed Chief Executive of AAPTC, a position she held concurrently with her position as Chief Executive of WHA.
The Clinical Forum program began at this time with initial seed funding from the Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Adelaide. Lessons were learned and the program was refined. Numerous substantial grants were received jointly with WHA from the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing. A database was jointly developed to support the program of clinical enhancement and identification of best practice. This database has been updated over the years to enable member hospitals to access data in real time so that they can compare their practices and outcomes with similar hospitals.
It was at this time that a refocus of energy occurred and the Association’s aims were to provide members with the opportunity to benchmark with similar hospitals across Australia, identify best practice and to advocate for the health and well being of children.
During the tenure of Professor Les White (Executive Director of Sydney Children’s Hospital) as President, the membership base was broadened to include paediatric units as well as hospitals. The name of the Association was thus changed to Children's Hospitals Australasia, to reflect the broader base of membership as well as including hospitals from the Asia/Pacific region.
Most recently in 2011, Children's Hospitals Australasia changed it's name to Children's Healthcare Australasia in order to better represent the broad scope of services CHA offers.