Media Release - 24/06/09
Canterbury District Health Board is continuing to make progress on implementing a new national programme that offers free health and development checks to four year olds.
Since the B4 School Check programme began late last year, CDHB has completed more than 1,000 B4 School Checks, which equates to 15.4% of eligible children.
Planning and Funding General Manager Carolyn Gullery said, “We are encouraging children to have their B4 School Check as close to their fourth birthday as possible. This enables time to provide any support or treatment that is needed before the child starts school.”
“We are now in a position where we are confident that we can reach new targets set by the Ministry of Health for the next financial year,” Ms Gullery said. “The Ministry has agreed to pay the CDHB for the set up of the programme and for the delivery of checks it has done so far.”
She said CDHB had always predicted the B4 School Check programme would take some time to implement as it wanted the programme to be based in General Practice. Nurses and public health nurses in the region needed to undergo training to deliver the 45 minute comprehensive check. A total of 160 nurses in Canterbury have so far qualified to provide the check.
The check includes vision and hearing tests, an oral health check and height and weight measurements. It also includes a strengths and difficulties assessment, comprising a questionnaire completed by the child’s parent/caregiver and another completed by their early childhood teacher/carer.
“CDHB has put considerable work into ensuring that we are not in a position where we are identifying children with concerns and then having nowhere to refer them. It has been an opportunity to look at child health and streamline some of our processes, within both the health and education services.”
“We have had positive feedback from parents whose children have received the check.”