The Enhanced Maternal and Child Health nursing program in Victoria – a cross sectional study of clinical practice. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service in Victoria comprises a universal service, an enhanced program providing additional support for vulnerable families (EMCH) and a 24-h MCH telephone line. There is anecdotal evidence of variation in EMCH programs between Local Government Areas, and this study aims to explore the variation in EMCH programs to inform future EMCH policy and practice. An online survey was sent to MCH coordinators in Victoria in December 2016 (n = 79), with a response rate of 70% (55/79). Quantitative data have been analysed using descriptive statistics, with open-ended questions examined using content analysis. The data confirms that EMCH programs vary significantly across the state. Differences include a variation in referral and intake criteria, different models of service and modes of delivery, differences in EMCH nurse working conditions, issues with data collection and a lack of systematic clinical tools. Variation in the EMCH program is greatest between urban and rural services and between advantaged and disadvantaged urban councils. Lack of consistent service delivery and data collection impairs program evaluation, including outcome measurement and evidence of program effectiveness.

publication date

  • 2019