What is The Bright Futures programme?

Written by: Dr Margarita Burmester
Published: | Updated: 25/10/2023
Edited by: Emma McLeod

Dr Margarita Burmester and Dr Martin Gray, co-founders of the Bright Futures programme, believe that children’s well-being can greatly benefit from regular check-ups, even during stages of good health. This takes place in the form of regular screening to observe all aspects of their health. Learn about this programme, how it can benefit your child and what to expect should you bring your child to a well-clinic.  

What is the Bright Futures programme?

When a child is sick, parents know to take them to their doctor. However, planned and structured clinic visits are just as important for healthy children as they grow and develop.


Bright Futures is an innovative and evidence-based programme of care in the UK for all children that keeps track of their physical, emotional and social development to maintain good health and wellbeing. These visits are delivered through well-child clinics.


Bright Futures has been developed by Dr Margarita Burmester and Dr Martin Gray, who are firm advocates of preventative paediatrics. Their screening programme is available at their Bright Futures Clinic in London.


Why should my child need to go to a well-child clinic?

Child health surveillance, also known as preventative paediatrics, is based on the fact that all children should have scheduled and regular paediatrician visits to screen and assess them for any underlying health condition from infancy to adolescence. This is to prevent disease via early detection and therefore offer prompt treatment. The American Academy of Paediatrics calls these visits well-child visits. Well-child clinics are a time when parents can check up on their child's health and make sure their child is growing and developing normally. Well-child visits usually start a few days after children are born and continue until the child turns 18.


How is disease prevented?

Children have a full medical examination and comprehensive screening history taken. Any concerns are discussed and sorted, and all appropriate vaccinations are offered. Parents can also learn about nutrition and safety tips for children at home and at school to avoid injuries and malnutrition.


What about growth and development?

Growth and development are monitored and parents can track their child’s growth from one visit to the next. Any developmental problems, behavioural problems or learning problems can be detected from an early stage and appropriate treatment and referrals can be made.


I might have some specific concerns, can I raise them?

This is an opportunity to raise any concerns that you may have about your baby or child. Regular well-child clinic visits allow you to ask questions about your child and raise any concerns that you might have about behaviour, sleeping and eating patterns or communication skills.


Regular well-child clinic visits create a bond between the parent, child and paediatrician. This helps children to develop optimal mental, physical and social health, and when they become teenagers, they may find it a safe place to go to in order to voice any concerns or anxieties that they have about themselves.


Can I prepare anything for a well-child clinic visit?

1. Make notes about anything you’ve noticed about your child’s health and development, including any behavioural changes.

2. Make a list of questions for the doctor and encourage your child to ask questions about their own health too. The Well-Visit Planner can help you to identify what questions you want to bring up.

3. Gather information for your doctor to take to the visit with you, such as school reports to help your doctor have a better picture of your child.


What happens when I go to a well-child clinic?

The health care team will conduct a physical examinationmeasure your child’s height and weightupdate vaccines and immunisations and allow you, as a parent or care provider, to ask any questions you may have regarding your child’s health. If your child is a teenager, they will have one-on-one time with the doctor.


The visit involves:

  • Detecting whether your child has any health concerns or underlying illnesses
  • Offering ways to prevent your child from developing health problems
  • Providing support for your child’s emotional, physical and social well-being
  • Giving you the opportunity to ask questions and learn from healthcare advice
  • You can ask questions and talk about your child’s growth, everyday life, challenges they face, family life, school performance and even your proudest moments
  • To help you before your next visit, take notes during the visit to remind yourself of what you’ve learned and what can be improved. That can be your to-do list and have your health care team go over it with you.


What happens after a well-child clinic visit?

Depending on your child’s age, they may require visits every few weeks, months or every year. Bright Futures will organise this for you. In the meantime, make sure to take note of any significant changes or developments in your child’s health and daily life to have this ready for your next visit.


If you have questions before your next visit, the Bright Futures team will be available by telephone or email if you need them. Click here to visit the Bright Futures website.


Visit Dr Gray’s profile and Dr Burmester’s profile to learn how they can offer health care of the highest quality to your child.

By Dr Margarita Burmester

Dr Margarita Burmester is a leading consultant paediatric specialist based in London with over 30 years’ experience who is trained in all aspects of paediatrics. This includes preventative paediatric care, general paediatric care, paediatric cardiac intensive care and paediatric critical care, as well as child development, child health education, infant colic, and health screening and surveillance.

With a passion for preventing ill health, Dr Burmester is the co-founder and director of the renowned The Bright Futures Health™ programme, an extensive all-encompassing health surveillance and screening programme for families based on the American Academy of Pediatrics model. This programme is currently available at 77 Wimpole Street and at the Chiswick Medical Centre, where Dr Burmester consults privately, offering paediatric care, child health surveillance, and health check-ups.

Dr Burmester qualified from St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School, University of London, in 1989. Since then, she has worked in Canada at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, in the USA at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University, and in London at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Dr Burmester was awarded her postgraduate certification in clinical education from King’s College University London in 2016, and has been both a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority and a Member of the Academy of Medical Educators.

In addition to her dedicated private practice, Dr Burmester has been a consultant paediatric intensivist at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London since 2002, where she was director of paediatric intensive care from 2009-2023. In 2008, Dr Burmester founded the multiple prize winning patient-safety educational SPRinT (Simulated Interprofessional Team Training) programme at Royal Brompton Hospital, with the objective of enhancing patient care.

Dr Burmester was the president of the Paediatrics and Child Health section of the Royal Society of Medicine from 2018 to 2021, and is a senior lecturer at the National Heart and Lung Institute. She has authored multiple publications, presented at numerous lectures, and has developed patented tools for patient care improvement. Dr Burmester's clinical performance has been recognised nationally through receiving the silver clinical excellence award given to the top 1.8% of all consultants, and she is a co-recipient of a prestigious Wellcome Trust Award.

Following her many quality improvement initiatives, Dr Burmester has been appointed “Q” fellow by the Health Foundation UK. As paediatrician and mother of three children, Dr Burmester is passionate about prioritising children's futures and understands the importance of maximising children’s health so that they can look forward to the brightest possible future.

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Nutrition
    Allergy testing
    Congenital malformations
    Eating disorders
    Sleep disorders
    pH monitoring
    Urinary incontinence
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.