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Ears Open, But Not Eyes

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Ears Open, But Not Eyes

News that newborns will receive free hearing tests is good, but what about the vision needs of children, asks Judy Turner, United Future Health Spokesperson.

“The vision and hearing needs of school-aged children are not picked up. Current vision testing is only able to identify 10 percent of vision problems.”

“I want a review of the efficacy of testing and the follow-up of vision and hearing screening tests of school-aged children.”

“We are led to believe that vision testing works and picks up all sight deficiencies, but it doesn’t. Parents and teachers are not aware of this and trust the current testing programmes.”

“We had 12 months of ministerial evasion in 2004 where no Minister – not Annette King, Trevor Mallard nor Damien O’Connor - wanted to hear about the problems surrounding vision and hearing testing. At the beginning of 2005, the then Associate Minister of Health Pete Hodgson finally agreed to investigate the issue.”

“Another year later and the Minister has joined his colleagues in the evasion.”

“Now the Government needs to follow newborn hearing tests with cochlear implants and vision testing for all children before their learning is permanently impaired,” says Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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