Pioneering new health scheme for Tod’s tots

Health visitor Karen Thompson and child development support worker Amanda Wrench with pupils at Cornholme School who have undergone the tots' health check
Health visitor Karen Thompson and child development support worker Amanda Wrench with pupils at Cornholme School who have undergone the tots' health check

Health visitors in Todmorden have started a new scheme to ensure all three-year-olds get their health check-ups.

The health visitors, from the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, carry out all the developmental check-ups on the Healthy Child Programme from birth up to school age.

But many tots were missing their check-up at three and a half. Previously, take-up at clinics and drop-in sessions had been poor so the Todmorden team piloted a programme of going into nurseries instead. Parents are informed in advance by letter to give their permission and are contacted afterwards if there are any issues.

The feedback from the first trial at Cornholme Junior and Infant School, Calderdale, has been so good it will now be made permanent and extended to other nurseries.

Health Visitor Karen Thompson, said: “By going into nurseries we can assess so many children in one session therefore more children receive this assessment. So far no parent has declined so that means all children are getting their checks.”

The development review at age three assesses readiness for school, speech development, weight and height are recorded and coordination assessed as part of an informal play sessions.

The Health Visiting team works closely with the nursery teachers throughout. This essential assessment identifies any problems before children start school and also provides a seamless transition to the School Nursing Team.

Headteacher at Cornholme School, Mr Adam Sapey, said: “This has been brilliant for us. What is good is that we have a named person to contact directly if we have any concerns. Having the early years check-ups here is such a good thing. It is both simple and a common sense approach. Check-ups at five are done in school so why not have them in nurseries too?”

The team is made up of health visitor Karen Thompson, child development support worker Amanda Wrench, and, not pictured, health visitors Janet Hallett and Janet Smethurst.