Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
4 November 2019
Last updated:

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Physical examination of a child at birth and at 6 weeks is a National Screening Committee recommendation for early identification of congenital cataract, hip dysplasia, congenital heart defects and undescended testes. These ages are recommended on the basis of best practice and current evidence and should trigger a prompt referral for early clinical assessment.

I have directed my officials to develop a New-born Infant Physical Examination Programme to ensure there is a consistent approach in place in Wales for these important examinations. There will be considerable opportunities through this programme to prevent avoidable long term conditions, reduce variation through the development of a quality assurance process and improve skill mix and efficiency across health boards in Wales.

My officials will establish a project board whose membership will consist of key stakeholders including health boards, Public Health Wales and the Maternity and Neonatal Network, to oversee the development of the programme over the next two years and agree the mechanisms for implementation and long term monitoring going forward. The project board will work with health boards to develop a single set of service standards, explore resource implications, develop key protocols and ensure there are robust referral pathways in place for diagnostic investigation, assessment and treatment.