School nurses in Calderdale are no longer employed by Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust after the local council awarded the service contract to a community interest company.
Locala Community Partnerships has taken over the contract from the trust this month, claiming that all 18 school nurses have been transferred across and there have been no redundancies.
“There have been no staff redundancies… Locala employs the same number of school nurses as the trust did under the previous contract”
The company – which is a form of social enterprise - already provides school nursing and other NHS services in nearby borough Kirklees.
It said it would introduce some changes to the service in Calderdale, by placing a greater focus on supporting children with long-term health conditions and on work to support schools in creating environments that promote good health.
This is in line with new requirements laid out by the local authority, which also wants to see school nurses focusing on implementing new practice in asthma care and providing first aid training to pupils.
Locala will also be providing the healthcare element of the council’s youth offending team, a service that the community interest company already provides in Kirklees.
Meanwhile, school nurse assistants will now be employed by Calderdale Council as the National Child Measurement Programme service that they provide is transferring to the local authority.
In April 2013 all local authorities in England took over the responsibility for commissioning school nursing services from NHS commissioners.
From this October, local authorities will also commission health visiting services.
Calderdale Council said school nursing was one of a number of services it had put out to tender since it had become responsible for public health for five to 19-year-olds.
Calderdale Council’s director of public health Paul Butcher, said: “The school nursing contract with Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust was coming to an end, so we advertised the contract and bidders had to meet the criteria in our service specification.
“This was to maintain a high quality service and a fair and transparent process that was open to all.”
He added: “There have been no staff redundancies caused by the change in provider. Locala employs the same number of school nurses as the trust did under the previous contract.”