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Nurses 'in every secondary school'

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Wales’s health minister Edwina Hart has announced plans for every secondary school to have its own nurse within a year.

It is part of a One Wales commitment to improving children’s health and increasing the number of nurses to provide children with a point of medical contact.

Tina Donnelly, director of RCN Wales, said: “People often call school nurses the nit nurse and think they are just people who look at children’s hair and teeth on a regular basis, but that’s completely out of date.

“School nurses are the first point of contact for children with problems at home; with bullying; who are being abused at home or who are exposed to drug or alcohol abuse.

“This is everyday, run of the mill work for school nurses, but they also give advice about sex education, about healthy eating and the impact of exercise.”

The RCN is calling for school nurses to be available to school children 365 days a year, not just during term time. Rosemary Kennedy, Wales’ chief nursing officer, said: “The needs of children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable, do not stop once they walk out of the school gates.”

The Government is to provide initial funding for the scheme, to ensure enough nurses are appointed, but health boards will have to cover the costs from 2011.

At present, the provision of nurses in Wales is not uniform, with some schools only getting a nurse for one afternoon every few weeks.

 

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  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Natalie Jewell

    I agree in an ideal world this is a great idea but the world is far from ideal. School nurses are under such pressure to deliver but are rarely well resourced. We buy our own toiletries and sanitary products because the Trusts won't provide us with this simple commodity for our puberty sessions. We have to fight to be given condoms for our demonstrations. Every few months a new advert goes out for new school nurses but there aren't enough nurses with the specialist qualification and community staff nurses get bored with their remit. We need to get community nurses in and put them on a development programme which enables them to reach school nurse level. This isn't going to take a year to implement but it needs to take of if we are going to have a school nurse in each secondary school.

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