How can I help address inequalities and support childhood immunisations and screening? 0 - 3 years

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Key messages for parents, grandparents and other care-givers

Parents or other primary care-givers are key to ensuring children are properly screened and immunised.

The following messages can be used to help motivate parents:

  • Newborn screening helps identify problems early and ensures children get the right treatments and support.
  • The sooner any problems are identified and treatment and help given, the better it will be for their child’s health.
  • Being immunised helps protect children from illness and disease.
  • Immunising each child helps protect other children by stopping the spread of dangerous diseases through herd immunity.
  • To be protected, it is important that children receive all of their routine immunisations.
  • All routine screening tests and immunisations delivered by the NHS in Scotland are proven to be safe and effective.

Parents can find more information on newborn screening and the routine childhood immunisation programme at the following links (external links):

Immunisation Scotland website

A guide to childhood immunisations up to 5 years of age

Your guide to newborn screening tests

Screening Scotland

Please also see below for further resources.

Nursery school staff and childminders

Nursery school staff and childminders should:

  • use the 'key messages' listed above to motivate parents to have their child immunised
  • display relevant posters for immunisation campaigns (e.g. for whooping cough (2012)) - for the latest updates visit Immunisation Scotland (external site).

Midwives

In addition to routine screening of newborns, midwives can help support immunisation by encouraging parents to have their child immunised.

See 'key messages' listed above and supporting resources.

Particular attention should be paid to at risk groups.

To aid retention of information and comprehension by those with communication support needs:

Please also see below for further resources.

GPs, health visitors

GPs and health visitors are ideally placed to develop trusting, respectful communicative relationships with parents of the type research has shown they most value.

  • If you have not already done so, complete the eLearning module Promoting Effective Immunisation Practice (external link).
  • Routinely ask parents about the immunisation status of their children.
  • Check hand-held notes and other records for evidence of immunisations and screening tests.
  • Be prepared to take the time to answer questions and discuss issues around immunisation and screening.
  • Be sensitive to barriers to accessing services - e.g. timing and location of clinics - and offer help to facilitate access.
  • Observe good 'Inclusive Communication Practice' as set out in Principles of Inclusive Communication - A self-assessment tool for public authorities.
  • Use the 'Teach-Back Technique' to help ensure important information has been adequately understood: Teach-Back Technique Postcard (Download PDF - 360kb).
  • Ensure that fathers are equally consulted and informed in matters concerning the health and wellbeing of their children (except where precluded by child protection concerns).

Service managers

Service managers and commissioners can help by:

  • ensuring all staff involved in immunisation programmes complete the eLearning module Promoting Effective Immunisation Practice (external link)
  • ensuring adequate information systems are in place to provide accurate recording of immunisations and screening tests
  • ensuring that staff working with parents and their children have the knowledge and time to discuss issues around immunisation and screening with parents
  • addressing potential barriers to accessing services - e.g. timing and location of clinics, language and communication issues
  • displaying relevant posters for ongoing and any seasonal or 'catch-up' immunisation campaigns (e.g. for seasonal flu or whooping cough (2012)) - for the latest updates visit Immunisation Scotland (external site).

Social workers, voluntary sector workers and managers

Social workers and voluntary sector workers and agencies can:

  • ask parents about the immunisation status of children
  • use the 'key messages' listed above to motivate parents to have their child immunised
  • offer help and support to access services
  • display relevant posters for immunisation campaigns (e.g. for whooping cough 2012) - for the latest updates visit Immunisation Scotland (external site).

 

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