Babies latch on to health services

LISA KNIGHT
Last updated 09:00 14/06/2014

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After three trimesters in action, the newborn enrolment programme is already proving a success.

The MidCentral District Health Board programme, which recommends early enrolment of newborns with health services, was introduced in October last year.

Parents are encouraged to engage with services such as GPs, the National Immunisation Register, Well Child/Tamariki Ora providers, hearing screening and oral health.

Of the 532 babies born in the first quarter of this year in the MidCentral region only four had no GP identified, MidCentral reported.

Some parents had found GPs themselves and some with the assistance of the newborn enrolment co-ordinator.

MidCentral also reported only three children in the region without a Well Child/Tamariki Ora provider recorded.

Child and youth health portfolio manager Barb Bradnock said she was pleased with the programme.

"The improvement in enrolment numbers under this programme has been very encouraging.

"Engaging parents and their newborns in the health system is a priority, and the hard work of our co-ordinator has made a real difference," Bradnock said.

The health board has developed a single enrolment form for the services that streamlines the process. Work to incorporate the form in maternity ward procedures meant more children were picked up for the programme and required less follow-up by the co-ordinator, Bradnock said.

Plunket Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki area manager Jo Malcolm-Black said families had given positive feedback about the programme. "The programme provides us with faster contact to families. It's good for them to know who will be supporting them after the midwife . . . they have been really pleased to hear from us sooner," Malcolm-Black said.

New parents often needed support with breastfeeding and sleep issues as soon as possible, she said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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