Almost half of new-borns did not see a health visitor within the first weeks of life

Almost half of new-borns did not see a health visitor within the first weeks of life in Norfolk. Pic

Almost half of new-borns did not see a health visitor within the first weeks of life in Norfolk. Picture: GETTY - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Almost half of new born babies in Norfolk did not receive a health visit within the first two weeks of their life, new figures have revealed.

Local authority health visitors, who assess a child's development, are supposed to carry out four checks during a child's early years: straight after birth, at six-to-eight weeks, at one year and then between two and two-and-a-half years.

Public Health England says this support is vital in establishing young children's good health and development.

But the latest data from the Department of Health and Social Care has revealed 44pc of newborns in Norfolk did not have a health visit within 14 days of being born.

The figures also show, 323 out of 2,244 two-year-olds in Norfolk, did not see a health visitor between April and June 2019 - meaning 86pc did.

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Nine per cent of youngsters missed their six-to-eight-week assessment and 19pc of the children in Norfolk did not receive their one-year review.

Nationally, almost a quarter of children did not receive their two to two-and-a-half-year review.

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The lowest attendance rate was in central Bedfordshire, where only 5pc of two-year-olds had a health check-up. At the other end of the scale, almost all of the toddlers in Middlesbrough had their visit.

In Norfolk, child development visits are co-ordinated by Cambridgeshire Community Services (CCS) which is commissioned by Norfolk County Council (NCC) to run The Healthy Child Programme.

In a joint statement issued by NCC and CCS, the organisations said nearly 40pc of the overall local public health budget went into The Healthy Child Programme.

They said: "[Our] service delivers a wide range of services and support for children and families across Norfolk including the mandated checks, and their performance is outstanding as recently judged by CQC inspection.

"Performance of the health visitors is some of the best in the country and we are consistently above national average with reviews completed within time scales for eligible children.

"CCS are an innovative organisation and are a national leader in the way they work transforming services so that families can better access support and enable a bespoke approach to meet children and families' needs."

A parent's view

Carol Robinson, 40, who lives in Thorpe Hamlet and moved to Norwich from London three days after having her daughter Poppy in July 2018 said she had a mixed experience of the getting a health visit since moving to the city.

Mrs Robinson said when she moved to Norwich she was seen within days of arriving and initial support was exceptional but then lessened.

She said: "They were amazing for the first couple of months, then we had the one year check up at 10 months."

Mrs Robinson said support then became less frequent and she became "disheartened" in the support she was receiving: "I'm a normal mum who wants the best for their child.

"When you need [the support] its not available unless it's a critical condition... My health visitor was very apologetic and said that she had just had so many cases, they have to prioritise."

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