Thursday 25 December 2014

Lack of staff is hitting baby-screening checks

A lack of public health staff means babies in several areas of the country are not getting their developmental health screening checks on time, at seven to nine months.

These free HSE screening tests can pick up hearing, eyesight or mobility problems while doing an overall check to see if the baby is reaching his or her milestones.

The service in areas of the west has been under particular pressure, and a recent query shows that even with improvements, a mere 64pc of children by September were being seen in the seven to nine months time frame.

A plan has been put in place to ensure that resources use is maximised and that the greatest possible number of children are screened each month.

Anne O'Neill, of the area manager's office, said: "I am pleased to advise that, as a result of the implementation of this plan, child health development screening in the seven to nine month cohort of babies has risen from some 40pc during the summer to 64pc during September of this year."

She said she was appreciative of staff, who have shown flexibility. "It is our intention to continue to prioritise this matter within the context of existing constraints and the moratorium of public service recruitment."

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