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10 August 2023

Why and when to visit the paediatrician

We are delighted to introduce our new paediatrician Dr Maryam Tasbihi, who starts at the Specialist Medical Clinic in Gibraltar on the 5th of September. Maryam is highly qualified, having completed her paediatric specialist training and a higher specialist training in paediatric diabetes in the UK. She has been working as a paediatrician since 2008 in the UK and has been a consultant paediatrician in Gibraltar since May 2020. Her areas of interest cover all general paediatric problems including gastroenterology, allergies, endocrinology, diabetes, infections, asthma and respiratory problems and much more.

Maryam will initially be holding clinics on a Tuesday evening, increasing availability as demand requires, to provide flexibility and convenience for paediatric patients and their parents.

We’re speaking to her today to discuss why and when to visit a paediatrician to ensure your kids are in the best of health.

Why should parents bring their child to see a paediatrician?

Welcome to the Specialist Medical Clinic Maryam, can you tell us the most common reasons for appointments booked with you?

There are a wide range of reasons to visit the paediatrician, here are the most common reasons:

  1. Routine check-ups and vaccinations: regular visits to a paediatrician are essential to monitor a child’s growth, development, and overall health. Vaccinations are also administered during these visits to protect against various diseases.
  2. Illness or infections: when children experience symptoms like fever, cough, cold, earache, stomach issues, or other infections, parents seek the expertise of a paediatrician to diagnose and treat the condition appropriately.
  3. Developmental concerns: parents may consult a paediatrician if they have concerns about their child’s physical, mental, or social development, such as delayed milestones or behavioural issues.
  4. Chronic conditions: children with chronic health conditions, such as asthma, allergies, diabetes, or developmental disorders, need specialised care from a paediatrician to manage their conditions effectively.
  5. Nutrition and feeding issues: paediatricians provide guidance on proper nutrition, breastfeeding, formula feeding, and addressing feeding difficulties in infants and young children.
  6. Parental guidance: parents seek advice and support from paediatricians on various parenting topics, including sleep issues, behavioural challenges, and general child-rearing concerns.
  7. Preventive care: paediatricians emphasise preventive care to promote good health and prevent future health issues. They provide guidance on safety, injury prevention, and healthy lifestyle habits.
  8. School or sports physicals: before starting school or participating in sports activities, children often need a physical examination to ensure they are fit and healthy and this is something a paediatrician can provide. 

How often should a family visit a paediatrician?

There is a schedule for well-child visits, to check development and health on a regular basis and give vaccinations, especially in the early years of their lives. In addition to this, families should feel comfortable visiting a paediatrician with any concerns they might have outside of these suggested visits and for advice and information, as well as simply when the child is unwell.

In the UK the NHS have the following schedule for well-child visits.

  • Newborn to 1 year: Regular check-ups are essential during the first year of life. Babies typically have appointments at birth, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 1 year, and more frequently if needed.
  • 1 to 5 years: After the first year, children generally have check-ups around the ages of 2, 3, and 4 years.
  • 5 years and older: From age 5 and beyond, children usually have check-ups every one to two years, although this can vary based on individual health needs.

 What are well-child assessments and why are they important?

Can you explain what well-child assessments include?

Well-child assessments, also known as well-child visits or check-ups, are regular medical check- ups that focus on monitoring a child’s growth, development, and overall health. These assessments are an essential part of preventive healthcare and are recommended by healthcare providers to ensure children are thriving and to detect any potential health issues early on.

During a well-child assessment, the healthcare provider typically performs the following:

  • Physical examination: the child’s height, weight, and head circumference are measured to track growth. The provider also examines various body systems to assess overall health.
  • Developmental screening: the child’s developmental milestones are assessed to ensure they are meeting age-appropriate milestones in areas such as motor skills, language, and social development.
  • Vaccinations: immunisations are administered according to the recommended schedule to protect the child against preventable diseases.
  • Health and safety guidance: parents receive advice on nutrition, physical activity, safety measures, and age-appropriate behaviours to promote the child’s well-being.
  • Parental guidance: well-child assessments provide an opportunity for parents to discuss any concerns they have about their child’s health, behaviour, or development with the healthcare provider.

Regular well-child assessments are crucial because they allow healthcare providers to identify any health issues early, provide appropriate interventions or treatments, and offer guidance to parents on how to support their child’s health and development.

Well-child assessments are highly recommended by healthcare professionals to ensure children receive timely medical care, vaccinations, and support for healthy growth and development. These assessments help establish a positive relationship between the healthcare provider, child, and parents, leading to better health outcomes and well-informed parenting. If you have a child, it is important to schedule regular well-child assessments with their paediatrician or primary care provider according to the recommended schedule for their age.

About the expert

Dr Maryam Tasbihi is a paediatrician in Gibraltar who trained in the UK, completing both paediatric specialist training and further training in paediatric diabetes. She has 15 years of experience as a paediatrician, starting work in the UK from 2008 and moving to Gibraltar to practice in 2020. She is able to support families with all general paediatric problems including gastroenterology, allergy, endocrine, diabetes, infections, asthma and respiratory problems and more.

Paediatric clinics at the Specialist Medical Clinic start on Tuesday 5th of September and will run every Tuesday evening in the first instance, with more frequent clinics planned in future months.