The community child health clinics continued to provide an important and popular service for mothers with young children in Newcastle during 1972-1974, supplementing the primary care services of general practitioners as only a minority of them had undertaken the preventive aspects of child care. Most of the work of the community clinics was done by health visitors and it consisted of advice, support, and reassurance about the everyday problems of children. Although an appreciable amount of the work of the community doctors was developmental screening (birthday checks) most mothers consulted them about relatively minor medical complaints--such as feeding difficulties, specific developmental problems, and immunisation. There was no attempt to do a birthday check on all the children in the city and those that were done revealed few significant undetected abnormalities because most of the children had already attended clinics. In a poor area of the city, family and social problems were often found but very little consultation took place between health and social services, indicating the need for better liaison between these services. The community child health clinics will need to be maintained if general practitioners cannot provide these services and are unable to include preventive as well as curative child care within their practice.
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