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.

Contact details

Email:, or call:

  • Westmead office, phone 9845 0810, or the
  • Randwick office, phone 9382 5662 or can 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?

Please email:, or, or

  • 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


Henry Kilham

Associate Professor Henry Kilham is a senior staff specialist paediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and previous head of general intensive care. His career spans 45 years in general and respiratory paediatric medicine.

Henry established a pain unit and was physician-in-charge of the NSW Poisons Centre for 30 years. He has worked in a variety of roles with the National Health and Medical Research Council and the TGA. He has a longstanding interest and active engagement in developing clinical ethics and has been instrumental in innovations in this area. Henry currently works part-time. See his academic profile.

David Isaacs

Professor David Isaacs is a 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.