Every secondary school in Wales will have a named nurse to work with pupils by this time next year. The Welsh Assembly Government is to make additional money available to Health Boards to overcome a shortfall in staff to help it meet its Framework for a School Nursing Service, which includes the May 2011 target.
The nurses’ role will be to meet the health, emotional and social needs of children and young people as well as promoting healthy behaviour and well-being. The objective of the scheme is to address the needs of all pupils regardless of their school attendance and to offer services outside school hours and during school holidays where these are needed.
The school nursing service is seen as complementing a number of other initiatives such as the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes and school-based counselling services. To meet the shortfall in school nurses the Assembly Government is giving funding to Health Boards for the next year to enable them to employ specialist community public health school nurses and registered nurses. Beyond next May the Boards will have to pay for the newly created posts.
Health Minister Edwina Hart said the nurses would have a mix of skills which would cover health surveillance, promotion and protection and safeguarding as well as supporting children and young people with medical, special and complex health needs. The Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, Rosemary Kennedy, said: “The needs of children and young people, particularly those who are vulnerable, do not stop once they walk out of the school gates.”