The Australian Medical Association Limited and state AMA entities comply with the Privacy Act 1988. Please refer to the AMA Privacy Policy to understand our commitment to you and information on how we store and protect your data.

×

Search

×

Families lose out for skipping doctor visits

The families of more than children have had their welfare payments docked for failing to take their offspring to see a doctor before starting school. In a tough new approach to child health, the Federal Government has carried through on its threat to withhold a payment of $726.35 per child from families on income support payments and Family Tax Benefit Part A who did not take their four-year-olds to see a doctor last financial year.

02 Sep 2012

The families of more than children have had their welfare payments docked for failing to take their offspring to see a doctor before starting school.

In a tough new approach to child health, the Federal Government has carried through on its threat to withhold a payment of $726.35 per child from families on income support payments and Family Tax Benefit Part A who did not take their four-year-olds to see a doctor last financial year.

Figures released by the Government show almost 67,000 four-year-olds received a check-up, while a further 27,402 missed out.

The Department of Human Services wrote to 77,000 families late last month reminding them of their obligation to ensure any child turning four years in 2012-13 has their health checked.

Human Services Minister Senator Kim Carr said the health checks, which can be undertaken from three years of age, were important in helping identify and address problems at an early stage.

“Everyone knows how important education is to increasing opportunities in life,” Senator Carr said. “Getting a health check will help children’s chances of being successful at school. Problems can be identified early, and solutions sought.”

But AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton has expressed reservations about a proposal from Deakin University academics for a program to weigh and measure children in schools as a way of combating obesity.

Researchers from the university said there was a need for routinely collected data to monitor the problem, and suggested an opt-out schools program as a way of ensuring extensive coverage and participation.

But Dr Hambleton was among a number of health experts who expressed concerns that weighing and measuring children, unless handled sensitively, could exacerbate problems around body image.

AR


Published: 02 Sep 2012