Mental health checks for kids will ‘clog’ system

THE federal government has been accused of creating unnecessary work for GPs after signalling it may soon withhold family tax benefits if parents fail to put their young children through mental health checks.

The government previously linked welfare payments to child immunisation, but has now written to GPs saying parents must put children aged four through the Healthy Start For School check-up to receive benefits.

A letter from Medicare warns GPs they may receive an “increase in requests from parents and carers” for the checks, which must cover weight, height, sight, hearing, teeth, toileting and allergies.

It says from 2013  the mandatory age will be three and include mental health checks “to allow experts input on the assessment instruments”.

WA GP and former AMA Council of General Practice chair Dr Joe Kosterich said the measure would “clog up the system” and lead to false positives and