A SHORTAGE of health visitors means some Kirklees children are missing routine checks.
Visits for two-year-olds are not being carried out unless parents request one or the child is involved with social services.
Crosland Moor youngster Holly Scaife is among those missing out.
Holly turned two on January 5 and mum Laura Pate was surprised when no routine visit was arranged.
She enquired and was told she had to request a home check.
Ms Pate said she was concerned that problems could be missed.
She said: “The health visitors are brilliant, but if they don’t have enough staff they can’t cover everybody.
“I am a first-time mum, how do I know what’s right or wrong? They are trained to spot things.”
Health visitor checks are made in the first few weeks after birth, then at seven months, two years and three-and-a-half years.
Ms Pate said: “I am a pro-active mum, but if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have thought to ask for a check.
“Also if I wasn’t treating my child properly, I wouldn’t request a visit. How do they know who’s at risk?
“You have your last check at seven months, then until they go to school there’s nothing.”
Kirklees Community Healthcare Services says there is a national shortage of health visitors and a country-wide recruitment campaign is under way.
Work is having to be prioritised to ensure essential services for vulnerable families are provided.
Robert Flack, director of Kirklees Community Healthcare Services, said: “This is a last resort. We will resume a full service as soon as we can.”
He said parents will now be sent a written explanation of why two-year visits have been cut.
He said: “We acknowledge that perhaps we could have made the situation a little easier to understand by writing to parents.
“We will now do this. Our letter will include a summary of what is normally expected of the average two-year-old.
“By the time a child is two, there will usually be contact with other trained professionals, such as at a GP practice or in a nursery.
“So it is unlikely to be solely the health visitor’s responsibility to identify problems within families.”
He said parents who are concerned should still feel free to contact their health visitor.
Health visitors interested in working in Kirklees should see www.soundfamiliar-kirklees.co.uk