Drop-in child health clinics expanded

The Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation (WRPHO) has expanded its free immunisation clinics and B4 School Checks to try and capture Whanganui pre-school children who are missing out.
WRPHO B4 School facilitator Janine Spence says around 800 Whanganui children who start school each year automatically qualify for the free B4 School Check and immunisation programme.
“However, while our staff probably see about 90 percent of these children in GP or WRPHO clinics, it’s the 10 percent we don’t see who we’re keen to reach,” Ms Spence says.
To make the service more accessible immunisation and B4 School Checks clinics are being offered at the following venues and times:

Weekly drop-in clinic each Wednesday
9am to 1pm at Gonville Health, 44 Abbot Street (in the Gonville Centre - opposite the Supervalue carpark)
Weekly clinic each Tuesday
9am to 5pm at the Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation, 100 Heads Road (Wanganui Hospital grounds - entrance to the left of gate 2)
Evening clinic on the first Monday of each month
5pm to 7pm at the Whanganui Accident & Medical clinic, Wanganui Hospital (next to the Emergency Department).
Any enquires or to book an appointment contact the WRPHO’s Manaaki Te Whanau – Supporting Family Health team on 0800 775 001 or (06) 348 0109 to speak with Pau, Janine or Sue.
Parents or caregivers are encouraged to contact this team to check their child’s immunisation status. It is important to know whether your child has had the appropriate vaccinations to protect them, particularly against whooping cough, which is currently circulating in Whanganui.
B4 School Checks were introduced in 2008 as the eight Well Child check. In the Whanganui region this follows the seven check-ups with Plunket or Tamariki Ora nurses and the final four-year check with general practice nurses.
Ms Spence says the B4 School Checks are designed to pick up any health or behavioural issues that a child may have, before they start school. It’s hoped the parents of children who are not enrolled with a doctor will be encouraged to attend the clinics which they can drop into without making a prior appointment.
The 40-minute B4 School Check can pick up a variety of hearing and vision problems, dental decay, child obesity and behavioural issues that will impact on a child’s ability to learn.
Ms Spence says when a problem is found the child is referred (with the parent’s consent) to an appropriate service which the clinic later contacts to check if, and when, the child was seen.
“Teachers have commented to me that having new entrants arrive with pre-existing conditions identified and supported enables them to get straight into their learning,” Ms Spence says.
Meanwhile, WDHB public health nurses are vaccinating year 7 children against tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria (boostrix) and year 8 girls against cervical cancer. The nurses visit schools to give these vaccinations however, girls attending small schools are bussed into Wanganui Hospital for their cervical cancer vaccinations.