“Since general practitioners have provided all health checks of children below school age, they know the children well. For that reason, the GPs should continue to provide health checks once the children reach school age”.
This is the argument put forth by Marjus Dam, the chairman of the General Practitioners’ Association, following the proposal by the Ministry of Health and the Interior that health visitors (‘heilsufrøðingar’ in Faroese) should also be granted authority to perform health checks on schoolchildren.
Children subject to compulsory school attendance, i.e. first to ninth grade, are offered two health checks by their GP – one at the start of school and one in ninth grade.
However, very few children accept these offers.
In 2017, 177 first-graders and only 18 of pupils who were nearing the end of their compulsory school attendance period underwent health checks. There are about 700 children in each year group.
Information initiatives regarding health checks have only had limited success.
In a bid to get more children to attend health checks, Sirið Stenberg, the Minister of Health and the Interior, has now proposed that health visitors should be allowed to provide health checks.
The advantage of this arrangement, she says, is that health visitors work in schools and are in regular contact with the schoolchildren.
Furthermore, health visitors are already providing other checks to these children.
Kommunulæknafelagið (The General Practitioners’ Association) has spoken out against the proposed amendment.
This article was originally published on Kvf.fo