ONE in 10 toddlers in Bracknell are not receiving mandatory check-ups from health visitors, new figures suggest.

Local authority health visitors, who assess a child’s development, are supposed to carry out four checks during a child’s early years: straight after birth, at six-to-eight weeks, at one year and then between two and two-and-a-half years.

This support is vital in establishing young children’s good health and development, Public Health England says.

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Out of 351 two-year-old's in Bracknell, 35 did not see a health visitor between April and June 2019, the latest data from the Department of Health and Social Care shows – meaning 90 per cent did.

The figures also show that 4 per cent of the children in Bracknell did not receive their one-year review.

The six-to-eight-week assessment was missed in 8 per cent of cases, and 7 per cent of newborns did not have a health visit within 14 days of their birth.

Across England, almost a quarter of children did not receive their two to two-and-a-half-year review.

The lowest attendance rate was in Central Bedfordshire, where only 5 per cent of two-year-olds had a health check-up. At the other end of the scale, almost all of the toddlers in Middlesbrough had their visit.

Lee Barnett, from the children's healthcare charity Tree of Hope, said that a lack of staff and coordination between teams and services meant health visits are being missed.

He said: "A focus on the child and their long-term needs is essential to developing health review processes, and there would be a cost-saving over the long-term."

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Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “Health visitors working in local government play a pivotal role in helping ensure all children get the best possible start in life.

“In some areas, councils are having to make difficult decisions to ensure the most vulnerable and complex cases are getting the help they need, due to a shortage of qualified health visitors.

“The next government needs to commit to invest in councils’ public health services and deliver a comprehensive workforce plan for health visitors and school nurses.”

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Nikki Edwards, executive director for people at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “In Bracknell Forest 91 per cent of children aged between two to two and a half years received a developmental review in the first half of 2019/20, and in 2018/19 this figure was 96.7 per cent.

“Of this figure, over 90 per cent of children in Bracknell Forest performed at or above the expected level of development, compared to the national average of 84.1 per cent.

"Of those 35 children that missed their health check, this could be for a number of reasons including illness, delays and parental choice.

“We stringently follow guidelines from Public Health England to ensure the needs of all our children and their families are met.”