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Our littlest patients

Kathy McMahon – Paediatrics.

In the six years since Dr Kathy McMahon took over as Clinical Director of Paediatrics at Peninsula Health, there has been seismic change.

“We had only one Outpatient clinic when I started in 2012, we now have about 28 different clinics as well as our Outreach service, where we are in some of the vulnerable schools seeing children who previously did not see paediatricians.”

In addition to the growth in outpatient programs, Kathy’s attention is also on innovation in the acute hospital area.

“We have a vibrant educational program now, which I believe has been instrumental in Paediatric trainees coming to work here,” enthuses Kathy. “We have outstanding trainees and each year the applicants far outweigh the positions, leading to better care for our local children. We have become one of the prized rotations from The Royal Children’s Hospital.”

“Previously people had to go to hospitals like Monash or the (Royal) Children’s and couldn’t get in easily and they wouldn’t be seen by local people. Local people have local knowledge and it’s now best practice to be seen locally, so that’s what we are providing for our community.”

 

Around the world and back again

After decades of travelling and accumulating invaluable experience, Kathy’s life has gone near full circle.

“I grew up in Seaford, and went to school in this area. We travelled around the state a lot as my father was a teacher, but I did all my secondary education here, and then I left and didn’t think I’d come back again!”

As successful as Kathy has been in paediatrics, it was a career that nearly didn’t happen.

“My first year as an Intern was at Prince Henry’s Hospital in St Kilda Road, and I loved it. I applied for a second year but didn’t get it. I was devastated.”

“Years later I met the guy who was head of the area at Prince Henry’s, and he said ‘I think we made the wrong choice!’”

 

Bigger and better

With six years under her belt, Kathy is focussed on continuing to grow and advance children’s care at Peninsula Health.

“We would like to expand our paediatric unit and Special Care Nursery to cater for slightly smaller babies, more premature babies, so that we can treat more people locally,” explains Kathy.

“I would also like to expand our Outpatients clinics with more sub-speciality clinics and expand our developmental behavioural clinics which are booked out for at least six months.”

 

Outside the hospital

Away from Peninsula Health, Kathy is an active member of her local community. She is a wife, and mother to her three sons.

“My husband and I met through athletics, running in Wales at an athletics camp, so we go bike riding, swimming, surfing, love going down to Lorne, and love the (Western) Bulldogs, as my father grew up in Footscray and my British husband immediately became a fan.”

Even after raising three boys, Kathy has no doubt she made the right career choice to become a paediatrician surrounded by children every day.

 “Paediatrics is the best speciality to be in. I have always loved children, and I have never disliked one child ever – I’ve disliked a few parents along the way – but never a child!”

Educational hub outreach
clinics operating at:

• Frankston North
• Hastings
• Mornington Park
• Rosebud
• Nepean Special School
• Bialla Early Intervention Service


Educational hubs operate with the
support of Menzies – Caring for Kid
s

28 paediatric clinics including:

• Gastroenterology
• Respiratory
• Gynaecology
• Dermatology
• Cardiology
• Endocrinology
• Continence
• Developmental
• Behavioural

 DR KATHY MCMAHON is the Clinical Director of Paediatrics at Peninsula Health. She is also the Chairperson of the Director of the Paediatrics group for the State of Victoria, and on the Paediatric Clinical Network insight group for the Department of Health and Human Services. Educational hubs operate with the support of Menzies – Caring for Kids