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Health and early years reviews for two-year-olds to merge

The healthy child programme review and early years reviews for children aged between two and two-and-a-half will be merged from September 2015. 

Currently, health and early years reviews are carried out separately. Health visitors and early years professionals will now have to share information and may carry out the reviews together. 

The government believes that by integrating the reviews parents will get a more complete picture of their child, drawing on the expertise of health visitors and early years practitioners. 

Age 2 is a key development point where speech delay or behavioural issues can be first noticed. Integrating the assessments will avoid duplicated diagnoses and make it easier to start work towards support that parents may need, the government feels. 

The Department for Education has published a report, led by the National Children's Bureau, on a 2-year pilot of integrated reviews from 2012 to 2013.

The report found that parents preferred this joined-up approach, and take-up of the reviews increased as a result. 

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "This report shows that integrating health and early years reviews is better for children and their parents - giving a more complete picture of their child's development and supporting children to the best start in life."

Childcare and Education Minister Sam Gyimah said: "The early years count and this new approach will reassure parents they have the information they need to support their children when they are growing up to give them the best possible start in life.

"This is a fantastic example of government departments working together to improve the services on offer to parents."