Training crucial to expanded child checks

TRAINING schemes that extend nurses’ skills will have to be funded or the updated child health checks program risks being abandoned, primary care experts warn.

The concerns follow the May Federal Budget move to extend the current four-year-old child health checks to include children aged from three years from 1 November.

Experts are concerned nurses may not have the skills to assess three-year-olds  without upskilling to carry out new checks, which include ‘emotional wellbeing and development’ assessments.

Professor Mark Harris, executive director of the University of NSW Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, told Medical Observer (20 May) it was likely GPs would do the new tests.

“With the existing health checks, [predominantly] conducted by practice nurses… they would have to have quite a lot of extra training,” he said.

The Australian Practice Nur­ses Association (APNA)