Article Text

See original article:

Download PDFPDF
If it’s worth doing, let’s do it!
  1. Tam Fry
  1. Tam Fry, Child Growth Foundation, 2 Mayfield Avenue, Chiswick, London W4 1PW, UK; cgflondon{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

After waiting 20 years for the evidence that growth monitoring is not only effective but also cost effective, you will understand how much I welcome the papers by Fayter et al1 and Grote et al.2 Both have declared, yet again, that the early identification and referral of children with abnormal growth is beneficial and that a good monitoring system is required. If only the papers had been available in 1998 when a meeting of health professionals took place in Coventry and virtually dismantled any form of monitoring system in the United Kingdom. Having considered that growth hormone deficiency and Turner syndrome were the only two conditions worth measuring for in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the meeting concluded with a “consensus” that routinely measuring children was not worth it. This month’s papers have turned that on its head, with Grote’s study specifying at least four groups of patients with growth disorders and Fayter confirming that new cases of a number of other conditions may be identified as a consequence of height screening. In fact, the Coventry Consensus – as the gathering is now famously called – heard of 14 conditions for which monitoring was a diagnostic aid but ignored the majority of them.3

We will never know how many children – abnormally tall as well as abnormally short – may have had their futures permanently compromised by the Consensus but now, having the evidence, we should make sure that the minimalist monitoring protocol arrived at in Coventry is replaced. The protocol is enshrined in Health for all children 4e and the National service framework for children and is not worth the paper it is written on.4 5 Neither document …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests: None.

Linked Articles

  • Atoms
    Howard Bauchner
  • Correction
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health