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"Well Baby Clinics"



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Μ"WELL BABY CLINICS" (EMBARGO: 1 a.m. Monday Nov. 2)A new preventive health programme for young children "begins in Canberra today (Monday, November 2).The scheme, to be operated by A.C.T. Health Services, offers free medical check-ups by a doctor for children below pre-school age.The medical officer in charge of child health in the A . C . T . , , · Dr Brian Dixon, said today that under the present system children received· regular examinations from the time they started school or pre-school.In addition, infant welfare centres kept a check on the health of young babies.Dr Dixon said this meant there was an important period between the ages of one and four years when there was often an /absence of routine ■ medical examinations. During this time, some condition likely to affect the health and wellbeing of a child might be developing.The new programme will provide examinations for children in this age group who are presumed to be healthy.Dr Dixon said that any child known to be ill should be taken straight to the family doctor. The new "Well Baby Clinics", as they are termed, will not be undertaking treatment.■ Any child found to be in need of attention or treatment will be referred immediately to a medical practitioner.As a start, the scheme will offer two examinations ... the first at the age of 8-12 months and the second as near as possible to the third birthday.Dr Dixon said the work would be done by three teams, each consisting of a doctor and a nursing sister, working from baby health centres in the A.C.T. Appointments for medical examinations would be made through these centres.Team members have recently visited Sydney to study a similar system already functioning there.Because of staff limitations, Belconnen will not be served immediately by the new scheme. This area will be included from next February. . . . 2 /

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The scheme is expected to be particularly valuable in the early

detection of hearing and vision defects. At present, many such problems

are not detected until the,school medical examination stage. , .

Introduction of the scheme follows recommendations last year by the

Child Health Committee of the Ifetional Health and Medical Research Council.

The committee said there were many children in Australia suffering from

defects of speech, hearing and vision which would interfere with effective

education.

The committee stressed the need for regular medical examinations of

infants.

Release No» 223 . . Nigel Starck

October 30 1970 PRO A.C.T. Health Services

Tel. 498077 ext 13

• , After hrss 4^7104

(EMBARGO; 1 a.m. Monday Nov. 2)