Dr Jo Jones, Private Consultant Paediatrician

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Issues I can help with

General kids’ issues:

More specialised areas:

Click on any problem listed above for more information.

Heart murmurs

Heart murmurs are extra noises heard in the heart. They are quite common and frequently ‘innocent', meaning that there is nothing actually wrong with your child's heart. The older the child is, the more likely this is the case. I may have to arrange a chest X–ray and an ECG (heart tracing), neither of which will worry your child. If I feel the murmur may not be innocent, I would need to refer your child to a heart specialist from Birmingham Children's Hospital.


Wheeze, cough and ‘chest infections' are common especially in the winter months. Sometimes, they are due to asthma. Asthma can be confused with simple viral infections which give similar symptoms. Asthma needs treatment with regular medication using specialist guidelines, whereas viral wheeze needs occasional and different medication.

I will be able to tell you whether your child has asthma or not, and advise you on the best treatment to keep your child safe, happy and able to join in with all activities.

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Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy affects a child's brain and therefore their development. It ranges from mild disability that does not hold a child back in life to severe problems with all aspects of a child's health and development. Children and parents may need a huge amount of extra help and resources, and the children often need very careful monitoring from different health professionals.

I have a great deal of experience in diagnosis of and working with children with cerebral palsy and similar conditions, to make sure they achieve their very best.

I have a great deal of experience in working with children with different degrees of cerebral palsy, and similar conditions, to make sure they achieve their very best. Working holistically, I concentrate on all needs as well as physical symptoms. Where necessary, I work with my colleagues in Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy to provide the best possible assessment and treatment for your child.

I may recommend however that your child is best looked after long term by your local Child Development Centre.

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Eczema is very common and, in most cases, responds well to careful use of creams alone. In some cases, dietary adjustments are needed. I will advise on all aspects of treating eczema, including dietary changes and allergen avoidance and detection.

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Fits, faints and funny turns

These events can cause considerable worry to parents. Many are due to quite straightforward things which I can reassure you about, and which rarely need any form of treatment. Occasionally, the underlying cause is more significant, such as epilepsy or an abnormal heart rhythm. I have the experience to diagnose what is happening to your child and to treat it. I may need to arrange tests such as an EEG (brain wave test) or ECG (heart tracing).

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Constipation is extremely common and is due to a wide range of causes, such as children not eating well, not drinking enough and worrying. It is rarely due to a significant bowel disorder.

Treating with laxatives alone rarely works long term. The child becomes scared of going to the toilet, and this worsens the problem. I always use careful behavioural management as well as gentle medications. This approach teaches a child, whatever their age, to understand what is happening to them so that they feel more in control. I have an excellent success rate in treating children and teenagers, often with years of failure, misery and embarassment.

I will look for the cause of the constipation, as well as treating it where necessary with gentle medications. I will help you with any dietary changes necessary, as I understand how difficult it can be to get children to eat healthily.

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Headaches and migraines

Headaches cause parents huge worry as they tend to fear the worst. Most headaches are due to simple causes which are generally straightforward to treat successfully.

I have the necessary experience to know when a headache needs to be investigated and when reassurance is the best management. I may rarely need to arrange a brain scan for your child.

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Allergies are common, and so are more simple ‘intolerances'. Many children needlessly start highly complex food exclusion diets to treat physical symptoms.

I can diagnose your child's allergy or intolerance sometimes with a blood test and sometimes with a simple measure such as single food exclusion, often for a relatively short period of time. Sometimes, special diets may be required for more complex intolerances or true allergies. In this case, I may choose to work with my colleague, a specialised dietician to ensure that your child's nutrition is never put at risk.

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Urine infections

Urine infections are quite common but so is simple cystitis. The younger the child, the more important it is to diagnose a true urine infection reliably. Symptoms can be confusing, especially in a baby. I can accurately assess your child, putting your mind at rest. I will arrange any necessary scans to make sure your child's kidneys are protected at all times.

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Weight problems

Weight issues can worry both parents and children. We all hope that our children are thriving, but when a child isn't ‘average', we ask whether there is something wrong. I can advise you when you feel your child is not putting on weight as well as expected, so that any underlying cause is carefully looked for, as well as working to make sure your child's weight is right for them.

Alternatively, I can help your overweight child to lose weight without losing their self–esteem, by means of careful dietary advice, exercise and behavioural methods.

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Diarrhoea may be due to infection, food intolerance or allergy, or rarely, due to an underlying general bowel or immune problem. Your child may need tests to find out what is causing the problem so that their nutrition is not put at risk.

I have the experience to know when tests are necessary and when reassurance is all that is needed.

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Minor to severe developmental delay

When does a ‘late' walker or talker actually have a problem? Sometimes, a careful assessment followed by reassurance is all that is needed. At other times, a comprehensive assessment is essential to ensure that your child receives all the help necessary to achieve their best in life.

I'm qualified to assess anything from minor speech and language delay or delay in walking, through to more complex or severe general delay. I may need to arrange blood tests or scans to make sure that any underlying cause is looked for.

Sometimes, I work with specialised colleagues in fields such as Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy. Together, we can speedily assess your child and start accurate, effective treatment if a significant developmental delay is suspected which is unlikely to sort itself out on its own.

I can also liaise with Education to make sure that any disability, no matter how small, is taken into consideration.

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Epilepsy can show up as strange movements, ‘blanks' or funny spells. Other causes such as heart problems or psychological problems can look like epilepsy.

Diagnosing epilepsy is complicated and can have serious consequences if mistakes are made. Children need assessment from an experienced doctor trained specifically in childhood epilepsy so that the diagnosis is not missed, or equally importantly, not made incorrectly.

My considerable experience and higher qualifications qualify me to treat children with mild to moderate epilepsy according to national ‘best practice'. Those with complex epilepsy should be looked after by an Epilepsy Specialist such as those at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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Sleep Problems

Most parents have had a child who has slept poorly at one time or another. Not only does the child suffer, at school and in their behaviour, but the whole family misses out on much needed rest.

I use specialised behavioural techniques, with occasional careful use of medication, to help your child begin and maintain a healthy, natural sleep pattern. Your child will improve physically, emotionally and educationally, and the whole family will benefit.

Sleep difficulties can sometimes be the cause of extremely disruptive behavioural problems. I can treat these, and also consider other possible underlying conditions such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

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Behavioural Problems

Parents want to feel that they are in control of their children without being unnecessarily strict. It's great to be able to go out for lunch with confidence that everyone will have a good time, including Mum and Dad! If everything with your toddler, child or teenager seems like a battle, no-one has a good time.

I use proven behavioural techniques to help parents feel in control at home and out and about, no matter how severe the problems are. This benefits the whole family.

It may be helpful for me to see the child in their home environment as that is where they will be at their most natural.

I'll make sure that any possible uncommon underlying conditions such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Autism or Learning Difficulty are considered, and can help you if I diagnose them. I may refer to my colleague, a highly experienced Child Psychologist, for more in-depth work if necessary.

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Children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder can have variable difficulties with speech and language, social ability and friendships, play skills, inflexibility, sensory issues and anger. These problems are often more pronounced at home in comparison to school.

Diagnosis should be given if it helps the child understand themselves and their strengths and weaknesses, if it helps others to understand that child without allocating blame, and if it helps the child get help such as special educational provision and help in exams. Autistic Spectrum Disorder often occurs with other specific difficulties and medical conditions such as ADHD and Dyspraxia, and it is essential to see the child as a whole and look for anything that can be improved.

National guidelines require an assessment by at least two appropriately experienced and expert professionals, one of whom should be a Paediatrician. Our joint approach complies with the most recent national standards, and I have been working at a high level in this area since 2003.

I run a private Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnostic service (including the subtype Pathological Demand Avoidance and high–functioning Asperger’s Syndrome) with a colleague, Dr Nikki Mills. Nikki Mills is a Consultant Child Clinical Psychologist who worked in the NHS since qualifying in 2004. She set up Advance Psychological Services in 2013 and is now a fully independent practitioner. We have been working together for many years, and we do the assessments in a particular way, as that is how we’ve found that we can achieve a responsive, speedy and efficient service without losing any accuracy. Dr Mills and I have the expertise to spot even the most subtle cases, often missed by standard diagnostic teams working to tight and sometimes inflexible agendas. It’s important to note that ‘subtle’ does not equal ‘mild’, and undiagnosed children and young people often present in their late childhood and teens with anger, anxiety and depression without an understanding of what is actually driving those destructive emotions that arise from having to cope with their poorly understood difficulties.

My charges are fully inclusive of emails, telephone calls to set up appointments and to gather brief initial information, extensive liaison with others including Nikki Mills, school, GP etc, and also a full medical report plus a later signed Joint Report document that Dr Mills and I put together which is a ‘formal diagnosis’ and which should be accepted by school, the Local Education Authority, Health etc. I take very full reports from school, and for secondary school children, I may request an additional administration fee as assessing ten or more teacher’s feedback reports is extremely time–consuming.

I then see the child for a ‘medical examination’. Just by working with a child in this way, I get a very good idea of how they relate socially, how they interpret what I say in terms of instructions during the examination, etc, and so it is far more than just a physical assessment of their body and brain. That takes about 1/2 an hour.

If I feel that there is a significant likelihood of a child having either ASD or Asperger’s, the child then sees my colleague, Dr Nikki Mills who does less in the way of in–depth questioning and, as I call it, ‘unwrapping a child's behaviour’, and more in the way of specific validated tests to confirm or refute my suspected diagnosis. Younger children or those with significant learning difficulties may not see Dr Mills in this way as they are too young to do intelligence and other tests. They need a play–based Autism assessment called an ADOS which Dr Mills and I do together. We have an extremely high concordance of diagnosis and work together very closely, often phoning each other to discuss how to work with a family and how to support them. We also work with schools, maximising understanding, and are happy to continue to work with a child and family after diagnosis as separate and additional work in order to offer support and understanding of both the child’s needs and also, more holistically, those of the family including siblings

I also screen for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD and ADD), unless it is very clear from the history that this is not appropriate. I have a great deal of experience in this area. Approximately 30–40% of children with ASD/Asperger’s have ADHD, so it is not something to be missed. I also look at other possibly associated conditions such as Dyspraxia, Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD) (although I can raise suspicions about the latter, I am not qualified to actually assess for SLD such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia), Tourette’s and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

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ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Children with ADHD present with different problems. Most commonly (ADHD), they are noisy, non–stop hyperactive, easily distracted and distracting of others. They find it hard to settle, often fail to reach their potential at school, and find it difficult to rein in their emotions. These children can often ‘hyperfocus’ on things that give a lot of stimulation such as the Wii or a DS, but find it extremely difficult to sit still and concentrate, especially if they struggle with the subject anyway. However, not all are hyperactive and noisy. Certainly, those symptoms are the commonest, but children with the predominantly inattentive (poor concentration type – ADD) can be quiet, day dreamy and in a world of their own much of the time. You can imagine how this affects school performance, but they can easily be missed as they are rarely disruptive. Some children have friendship problems. They are fun to be with, but other children can tire of them as they don’t know when to stop, stick at the rules of the game poorly, and can be unnecessarily silly.

Young people have less obvious hyperactivity but often describe themselves as feeling restless and unsettled. If ADHD has not been diagnosed by their age, self esteem can be in tatters along with exam prospects. It’s not to late to help though and young people in their 20’s seek advice and diagnosis from me.

Children with suspected ADHD or ADD need a very careful clinic assessment, along with essential in-depth home and school questionnaires and other information. The detailed feedback of a teacher who knows the child well is far more helpful than a brief ‘snapshot’ observation by a professional. The diagnosis may only be made by a Paediatrician, Child Psychiatrist or Specialised Nurse (working as part of an ADHD Team) as accurate diagnosis is essential.

National guidelines and international research have found medication to be first–line treatment for those who are impaired by their ADHD/ADD, but this must be combined with consistent, firm and caring parenting.

I am qualified to assess, diagnose and treat ADHD and ADD, and have many, many years of experience. I also assess for other conditions frequently existing alongside ADHD, as solving half the puzzle is not enough to help a child flourish. I can also provide long term follow up in conjunction with your GP. and ensure that school staff understand how to help your child.

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Learning Disability

We all want our children to do as well as possible at school. Children who struggle academically lose confidence and self–esteem. An important task is to make sure they are proud of themselves and can do other activities that they feel they can succeed in.

I'll assess your child holistically to make sure that any underlying causes have been looked at. I work closely with Education and Social Services to ensure that your child receives the help they need to achieve their very best. I may refer you to my colleague who is an expert Educational Psychologist at a reputable research department at Aston University. This will make clear what your child is capable of, and also what can be done to then help them achieve their true potential.

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Global Developmental Delay

A child who seems far behind other children of a similar age always causes great concern. For some children, there is an underlying cause which needs to be examined, but many children will have lots of tests without an eventual diagnosis.

The most important thing is to make a full assessment looking at the child as a whole. I'll look at all aspects of their health, development and behaviour, involving my colleagues in Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy where necessary. Any other necessary therapists can then be involved to make sure that advice and treatment is of the very best.

I have the experience to assess your child holistically when you are concerned that they are not achieving what you expected. I'll look at all aspects of their health, development and behaviour, involving my colleagues in Speech and Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy where necessary. We will work with you to help your child reach their full potential.

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Joint problems

A child with painful joints or a limp can be concerning for parents, especially if there is a family history of arthritis. In actual fact, most joint problems in children are due to temporary causes and will settle with minimal treatment. Parents need to see a Paediatrician who knows when to arrange further investigations, but equally, can assess and simply provide reassurance if appropriate. Your child may need blood tests to ensure that there is no serious cause.

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Problems with growth or sexual maturation

Children who appear too short, too tall or who are not developing sexually as they should are always worrying. They can be teased and suffer lack of self-esteem. Sometimes, the cause is a family tendency towards short stature or late puberty, but at other times, there is a significant problem which won't improve with time, needing further tests.

I can monitor your child, arranging tests such as blood tests, X–rays and scans where necessary, if there are concerns about growth or puberty. Highly complex tests may be infrequently required, needing referral to a Paediatric Endocrinologist at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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Babies who cry, vomit and arch their back can often be suffering from Reflux. This is when the milk in their tummy goes back up towards their throat rather than staying down. Reflux can cause normal stomach acid to hit the gullet (oesophagus) which can be intensely painful. This causes screaming and back-arching, often with poor feeding and sleeping. It can also cause persistent vomiting, and even failure to thrive if severe.

It's very important to distinguish it from other less common causes of vomiting, such as urine infections, food intolerances and rare gut abnormalities. Comprehensive treatment, with medication where necessary, enables your baby to feed and grow in comfort, and you as a parent to enjoy nurturing your child.

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Repeated infections

Children, especially for the first few years of life, often seem to be constantly suffering from one infection or another. Parents often worry that there is something wrong with their child's immune system. The vast majority of infections are simply Nature's way of stimulating an immature childhood immune system into learning to cope with future infections.

Certain types of infections, however, warn experienced Paediatricians to check a child very carefully including blood tests where necessary.

I have the experience to know when to reassure and when to investigate, giving you peace of mind that your child is not in danger.

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Tummy pains

Tummy aches are extremely common in children, including those going on for some time. Most pains are actually due to relatively straightforward things such as constipation, which are generally easy to treat. Sometimes, there is no obvious cause, and I can quickly arrange tests such as blood tests and a scan, if only for reassurance.

Emotional upsets and stresses frequently show up as tummy pains. It can often be difficult to work out what is due to stress and what is due to a physical cause, especially as the two get mixed up together. Parents worry that they are ‘missing something', and need the reassurance of an experienced Paediatrician who can spot if there really is a physical cause, but who has the sensitivity to be able to piece together what may be happening at an emotional level if this is the case.

I have considerable experience both in diagnosing and treating physical causes of tummy pains. Sometimes, the pains are due to deep-seated emotional stresses needing careful psychological help. I can quickly arrange any necessary diagnostic tests, attending sensitively to any underlying stresses.

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General checkup or “MOT”

Any general concerns that you have will be listened to and addressed before checking your child thoroughly for any physical problems, including growth and blood pressure. I'll assess their development and any behavioural or social concerns, including school issues if necessary.

The aim of this is to provide peace of mind, and arrange appropriate and speedy treatment where necessary. Any specific health issues that arise may need a further appointment so that I can advise you comprehensively.

This consultation is likely to take about an hour.

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