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Nursing cuts will affect childrens' health, officials warn

Industry comments on school nurse numbers in UK schools

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 28, 2015 | Health & wellbeing

Falling numbers of school nurses has resulted in a ‘crisis’ in childrens’ health, the nursing union has claimed. Cuts to public health budgets have led to depleting staff numbers, while school pupil numbers are expected to outstrip places over the next nine years. 

The news also comes as The Children’s Society reports UK children as among the unhappiest in the world, citing mental health, bullying and alcohol as areas of concern.

The Royal College of Nursing recently held a School Nurses Conference in which it debated the coverage of school nurses across schools. The conference debated a decrease in school nurses numbers, leading to just 3,053 nurses working in 24,317 schools. 

Commenting on the conference, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: “Schools are increasingly dealing with children with complex medical needs and in order to do so effectively, it’s important that they have the right support. 

“Teachers are not nurses, and anyone being asked to administer medication should be appropriately trained, or this should be done by a school nurse to ensure the safety of pupils. 

“However, many of our members struggle to access this vital service, with little or no school nurse service for many schools. This makes it incredibly difficult to ensure that children with medical conditions receive the high levels of care they deserve. 

“Government needs to make sure that this service is receiving appropriate funding to ensure that pupils with medical conditions are not disadvantaged when it comes to their education.” 

Have you got something to say about school nursing and the role of school staff in childrens’ health? Send your stories to editor    

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