Introduction Audiology services for children have been undergoing significant changes recently with a reduction in clinical involvement of Paediatrician's with a special interest. Public Health Nursing has also undergone change with a reduction in universal services and ‘screening’ for developmental difficulties.
Aim To evaluate the role of Paediatricians working in audiology services in early identification of children with additional needs.
Methods All referrals of children aged 2–5 years from paediatricians working in audiology services to community paediatricians for a 3 year period (2005–2008) were identified retrospectively. Outcome of assessment by community paediatrician in terms of diagnosis and severity – measured as notification to education, were recorded. Access to and outcome of health visitor developmental checks at 9 months and 2 years was noted also.
Results 15 children were identified but only 12 notes were available for analysis. Two-thirds (8/12) of these children required notification to education due to either global or specific developmental difficulties, none of these were identified at the 9 month check and less than half at the 2 year check by the public health nursing team as having significant difficulties.
Conclusions Early identification of developmental difficulties is promoted as it improves outcomes and reduces secondary problems for children and their families. Children present in a range of ways to services and all opportunities for identification should be taken. Are we losing one of these opportunities with the loss of experienced doctors from clinical audiology services?