Children, schools and families secretary Ed Balls has pledged to visit frontline school nurses to get a firsthand idea of their work pressures.
Mr Balls was attending the Unite/Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association annual conference in Southport on Wednesday.
He heard that in the North East some school nurses had cases of more than 6,000 children each. As a result, Mr Balls promised delegates that he would visit the area.
Unite national officer for health Karen Reay said: “We warmly welcome Ed Balls’ clear commitment to school nursing and his desire to take up Unite’s invitation to visit school nurses in the North East to see what they do during their busy working day.”
According to NHS statistics, another 2,000 school nurses need to be employed in England by 2010 to achieve the government’s goal of one specialist school nurse for every secondary school.
The latest NHS workforce statistics, based on September 2008 figures, revealed that there were 1,062 full-time equivalent school nurses in England – an increase of 169 on the previous year.