Clinical Ethics Service
The Clinical Ethics Service aims to improve children's welfare by promoting the best interests, rights and responsibilities of children and their families in health-care.
Email our network email address at: SCHN-ClinicalEthicsSupport@health.nsw.gov.au
Alternatively, contact one of our team via email or phone:
Anne.Preisz@health.nsw.gov.au (Network Clinical Ethicist)
Melissa.Drinkwater@health.nsw.gov.au (2023 Clinical Ethics Fellow)
David.Isaacs@health.nsw.gov.au (Medical Lead)
- Westmead office, phone 9845 0810, or the
- Randwick office, phone 9382 5662
We can also be contacted via the switchboard on 9845 0000
The Clinical Ethics Service was extended across the Network in 2015 to further support healthcare professionals and to develop clinical ethics capacity across all areas of the Network.
The service provides:
- Ethics case consultations for current clinical cases
- Informal ethics discussion regarding an ethical concern or query
- Ethical reviews of past clinical cases to assist learning
- Facilitated departmental discussions to encourage communication and practical problem-solving
Consideration of and involvement in clinical ethics have a long-standing tradition at both the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
The SCHN Clinical Ethics Service is managed by Anne Preisz, clinical ethicist.
Who can use the clinical ethics service?
Any Sydney Children's Hospitals Network member of a clinical team.
How quickly can the clinical ethics service respond?
Within 48 hours
How can I refer a case? Or ask a question?
- For Westmead office, phone 9845 0810
- For Randwick office, phone 9382 5662
What's involved in a clinical ethics consultation?
A formal clinical ethics consultation includes the clinical ethicist, the referring clinician, and representatives of the relevant multidisciplinary team involved in the child’s care.
What sorts of issues are considered in consultations?
- Informed consent, including capacity and confidentiality
- End-of-life decision making (including advanced treatment plans and withdrawal and withholding treatment)
- Withholding information and disclosure to children (children/families rights)
- Children's participation in decision-making
- Parent’s role as proxy decision makers
- Cultural issues and values/cross cultural care
- Genetic testing and counseling
- Children's participation in research- competence, opt out consent, children's assent to treatment
- Use of interpreters
- Just distribution of resources
- Vaccination practice
- Professional practice, including communication/confidentiality between providers
Anne Preisz is the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network Clinical Ethicist and manages the Clinical Ethics Support Service. Anne has extensive clinical experience as a Physiotherapist, specialising in neuromuscular and neonatal care and holds a postgraduate Masters’ degree in Bioethics from the University of Sydney. She interned at the RCH Children’s Bioethics Centre and is an ADC accredited Mediator and an Honorary Associate at Sydney Health Ethics, University of Sydney and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, School of Medicine Bioethics Department. She has published on a number of paediatric ethics topics including cognitive bias in decision making, evaluation of paediatric quality of life measures and environmental ethics and paediatrics.
Professor David Isaacs is the Medical Lead for the SCHN Clinical Ethics Support Service, a recently retired consultant paediatric infectious disease specialist at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and Professor at the University of Sydney.
David has a post-graduate diploma in bioethics from Monash University and teaches, writes and researches ethical issues, mostly related to paediatrics. He consulted on children in detention in Nauru and has become a passionate advocate for families seeking asylum. See his academic profile.
Associate Professor Henry Kilham is a recently retired senior staff specialist paediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. He has a longstanding interest and training in clinical ethics and has been actively engaged in developing clinical ethics and the service over the last 20 years Henry remains involved with our SCHN Clinical Ethics Support Service as an honorary member of the Network.
Henry's impressive career spanned 45 years in general and respiratory paediatric medicine. He was previously the head of the general intensive care unit and established the pain unit. He was physician-in-charge of the NSW Poisons Centre for 30 years. He has also worked in a variety of roles with the National Health and Medical Research Council and the TGA. See his academic profile.