Council to invest extra £2.5m in Hampshire school nursing service
Hampshire County Council has announced plans to increase funding for school nursing services.
Up to £2.5m additional funding over five years will be used specifically to support the physical and emotional resilience of children and young people in Hampshire, the council said.
“All the evidence supports early action, listening to children and young people at the earliest opportunity - healthy children will become our future healthy adult workforce”
It said the decision to increase the funding was in recognition of the “benefits of supporting children and young people’s mental and physical wellbeing”.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and public health, said providing a focused service to support vulnerable older children, as well as extending checks for children in year 6 was “vital in helping to avoid more costly and intrusive interventions later on”.
“One of our key aims is also to ensure that it’s not only teachers who know how to contact the service, but that children and young people, as well as parents, are able to get in touch with the school nursing service direct,” she said.
“Being more visible in schools and ensuring children and young people know how to contact a nurse will ensure that those who need extra support are put in touch with expert help as quickly as possible, thereby helping to avoid problems going untreated and causing greater difficulties in later life,” she added.
The additional funding agreed by Cllr Fairhurst will increase the value of the five year school nursing contract in Hampshire from £17.6m to £20.1m. The new contract will be in place from 1 April 2015.
The school nursing service in the area is currently provided by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Asked how many school nurses would be funded by the extra investment, a council spokeswoman said: “The number of nursing staff needed will be determined by the providers.”
In April 2013, responsibility for commissioning public health services for five to 19 year olds transferred from the health service to local authorities.