THERE was confusion this week as parents were told changes to hearing tests meant a whole year group would miss out - before the health board admitted the notification was “sent out in error”.

Concerns were raised after parents received letters home from school which stated that the hearing screenings for year one pupils would be included in the National Child Measurement Programme.

These tests are carried out in reception classes, when the pupils are aged four to five, meaning those who have already moved up to year one would miss out.

The letter from the School Nursing Service, part of Hywel Dda University Health Board, states that the screening schedule changed in September 2017.

Parents were asked to contact the school nurse directly if they had concerns or inform the school.

One worried father said: “I’m pretty sure that screening children earlier will be a good thing. But what is worrying is how this national change is being implemented by the Health Board. They should have seen this coming and could have put additional resources in place to make sure that every child is screened as standard and not at the request of parents.”

Jenny Israel, Head of Children’s Public Health Nursing for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The letter was sent out in error and the parents of year one pupils will be written to in the coming weeks. The Health Board apologises for any confusion or upset this may have caused and would like to reassure parents that all pupils who are due to receive their hearing tests will do so in school.”

Experienced paediatric audiologist, Sarah Foster said the risks of not picking up a hearing loss at this age can have long term effects: “Of course parents will be able to pick up on the signs of hearing loss in their children. But it isn’t always that simple.

“Wales, hearing tests are conducted at birth, and again when children enter school, so for some children not receiving a test there is a chance that some hearing impaired children will be missed. This really is unacceptable as a simple screening hearing test only takes a short time to perform.”