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Questionnaire will monitor health of two year olds

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The DH will roll out a questionnaire, which will record population health for two year olds across England.

The Ages & Stages questionnaire will be used from 2015 to build an accurate picture of two year old's health.

It will focus on five areas of child development: communication, fine motor development, gross motor development, problem solving, and social and personal skills.

The questionnaire will be filled out by parents prior to the Healthy Child Programme's two-year review, carried out by health visitors or community nursery nurses. Parents will then discuss the questionnaire with the healthcare professional conducting their child's Healthy Child Programme two-year review.

The completed questionnaire will provide information for each individual child and be used to assess the health of two year olds nationally.

Helen Bedford, a senior lecturer in children's health at the University College London (UCL), Institute of Child Health, who had a role in developing the questionnaire, said: 'The beauty of it is that everybody will be using the same questionnaire. Before there was variation across the country and sometimes they weren't properly validated instruments, which were developed locally.

'We are now measuring the things we want to measure and I think this will benefit children, families and health visitors. We always consider parents to be the experts of their own children and this gives them the opportunity to really think about their child's development and to create a partnership between the parent and the health professional.'

An e-learning package has also been launched to support health visitors and community nursery nurses carrying out the two-year review. The questionnaire has already been in use in some areas, but will now be required nationally.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: 'The roll out of this questionnaire and e-learning package will help build a picture of the health and development of two year olds across the country and ensure we target funds to create the most impact.'

It was a collaborative project between the UCL Institute of Child Health and the University of Hertfordshire.

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