What progress has the Government made towards ensuring all eligible New Zealand four-year-olds get a B4 School health check?
B4 School checks are a comprehensive free health and development check for 4-year-olds to make sure they are well set up for school. I can advise the House that in the past 2½ years children have received over 100,000 B4 School checks. About one-fifth of these kids have been identified with eyesight, hearing, or developmental problems, and have been referred to appropriate services. In making this programme work better, we are not only making kids’ health better but improving their education and their ability to interact in the community. I contrast the 100,000 in the last 2½ years with the 3,000 achieved by the previous Government before it left office.
What enhancements is the ministry making to this preventive health programme?
The Ministry of Health has entered into a partnership with Sir Richard Taylor’s television characters the WotWots to promote B4 School checks. Already we are receiving positive comments. These include feedback from a coordinator in Invercargill who said that using the WotWots colouring-in book she was able to keep the kids occupied with recognising their shapes, colours, and numbers, which assisted her assessment of the kids while at the same time she talked to their parents about their children.