Parents from Inverell, Ashford and Tingha have been given a helping hand this week with a visit from the Royal Far West Healthy Kids Bus Stop.
Aimed at 3-5 year olds, the bus is considered a 'one stop shop' for a free health screening for youngsters, with the aim of uncovering any developmental issues before they begin attending school.
Over 50 children have been booked in for the service, which visited Inverell on Tuesday, Ashford on Wednesday and will be in Tingha tomorrow, March 21. The checks include general child and family health, speech pathology, a discussion with a dietitian and occupational therapy.
"What might take six weeks, we're doing in two and a half hours," country services manager John Reid said. He said having all the services in one place encouraged parents come along who might otherwise struggle to find time and transport opportunities to bring their children in for multiple health checks.
Mothers Simone Shawyer and Jordanna Coughlin agreed that the bus made their lives easier.
"Services like this are absolutely essential," member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said, visiting the bus on Tuesday.
He noted that children facing school with unaddressed developmental issues could easily fall behind in class and often struggle to catch up. He was glad to see the service reach those in small and isolated communities.
A participant in the Murray Darling Basin Regional Business Accelerator program, the bus recently underwent a $10,000 upgrade. The vehicle can now connect to video conferencing tool Telehealth when visiting rural areas, which allows patients to speak with medical experts in other locations.
Royal Far West has partnered with Ronald McDonald house for the Healthy Kids Bus Stop Initiative, which is a privately funded program.