Local MP supports Barradells Opticians’ ‘Red Book’ Campaign
Mary Robinson, MP for Cheadle, is supporting a local optician’s practice in its campaign to raise awareness about the importance of children’s eye examinations.
Barradells Opticians in Cheadle Hulme (part of the Valli Opticians Group) is campaigning for a greater emphasis on children’s eye health to be included in the Personal Child Health Record (commonly known as the ‘red book’).
The book is a national standard health and development record of a child’s early years which is given to all new parents and carers.
Valli Opticians Group Managing Director Moin Valli explained: “Statistics show that one in seven children in the UK (that’s over 1 million children) have an undiagnosed vision problem that can impact their learning and development. This is around four children in every classroom.
“Yet there seems to be a general lack of awareness in the UK of the importance of regular eye examinations from an early age. We believe one reason for this may be the vague information about children’s eye health in the red book.
“Some children have vision screening when they start school but this does not happen in all areas of the country. Where it does happen, the screening is carried out only once, at the age of 4-5. A child’s eyes can change after this age and this will not be identified by the screening programme.”
Moin added: “The red book is where advice on childcare starts for most parents. It is a great tool that gives parents and carers a range of important advice about a child’s development and I am hopeful that it can be enhanced by more information on eye health. Whilst the current information in the red book is relevant, we are calling for it to be clearer.”
Mary Robinson has agreed to raise the matter with the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP.
She said: “It’s vital that our children get the best possible start in life. Having better information available to parents in the red book will ensure that eye health is looked after properly from an early age, helping children in their development and preventing issues in the future.”
The content and format of the PCHR (‘red book’) are overseen by a multi-disciplinary group, hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).
An online petition is calling for the following text to be included in the ‘red book’:
‘You can take your child to see your local Optometrist for regular eye examinations. Children under 16 are entitled to NHS funded sight tests and an optical voucher. An optical voucher entitles you to help towards the cost of glasses if they are needed.’
You can sign the petition here.