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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Baby health checks missed

29th September 2010

Staff shortages means that thousands of babies in London missed critical one-year health reviews.


Figures show that some 21,000 babies did not have their review between August 2009 and January 2010 with the worst performing trusts identified as Waltham Forest Primary Care Trust (where only 3.4% of babies were examined) and PCTs in Haringey (13.57%) and Hillingdon (14.31%).

Eight other boroughs conducted the check on less than 50% of the children in their area.

But in the best performing PCTs in Bromley and Kensington and Chelsea, almost 95% of babies were seen.

Dr Ken Aswani from NHS Waltham Forest acknowledged the trust’s performance was “not good enough” and said steps were being taken to prioritise the one-year checks and increase the number of health visitors in the borough.

“We have focused on ensuring our most vulnerable children do see a health visitor for the one-year check,” he said.

NHS Hillingdon said it had invested £600,000 in its health visiting service and recruited an additional 15 members of staff.

The one-year check-up to monitor the development of a child is part of the Healthy Child programme.

Chief nurse of NHS London, Professor Trish Morris Thompson, said while the 130,000 babies born in the capital last year was a 14% rise, the number of health visitors in London has fallen by a half.

“We need another 300 health visitors to give babies and their families better care. We are training over 100 new health visitors through a three-year fast track scheme but more are needed,” she said.


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