Low uptake on health checks

GOVERNMENT child health services are still trying to catch up with the children who missed prep-aged vision and hearing tests last year after only 25 children took advantage of holiday checks.

Health and Human Services director of nursing Christine Long said that appointments were offered in January for parents of children at five schools not reached last year.

"These advertisements were in The Examiner and we requested inserts in school newsletters as well inviting people to make an appointment," Ms Long said.

The extra checks were offered after Tasmanian School Parents and Friends president Jenny Eddington expressed concern last year that some prep-aged children had missed out on the checks.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne had committed to continuing the checks until a new system was introduced next year.

Ms Long said that the Child Health and Parenting Service was working with the Education Department and schools to start prep screening early this school year.

"Across the state planning is under way to ensure that children who missed their prep screen in 2012 have the opportunity to have the vision and hearing screening this year when the CHAPS nurse visits their school," she said.

That would be when the nurse was in the school to conduct vision and hearing tests for this year's group of prep-aged children.

There was concern last year that children were missing out on the school checks because there were not enough CHAPS nurses available to reach all schools.

Ms O'Byrne said this week that what is now called the Healthy Kids Check for children five years and under was also available through general practitioners. She said that parents should talk to GPs to see if a gap payment was required for these checks previously provided by school nurses.

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