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RCN Calls for Government Funding to Increase School Nurses

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RCN Calls for Government Funding to Increase School Nurses

Children who suffer from long-term conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, diabetes and allergies face putting their lives at risk.

Children who suffer from long-term conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, diabetes and allergies face putting their lives at risk. Due to a decline in school nurses, teachers are left without the right training guidance and support from school nursing services.

NHS staff data published in August this year revealed that more than 550 school nurses were lost between May 2010 to May 2017, 19% of the total. With over 100 posts vacant throughout the past year and a rise in the number of school age pupils of 450,000, the lack of nurses within the education system is leaving teachers with insufficient skills to care for those who could encounter a life-threatening experience at any present moment. Fiona Smith, RCN Professional Lead for Children and Young People’s Nursing believes that: “school nursing is a critical service and it needs to be treated as such.”

A quarter of children aged 11-15 in England have a long term condition or disability and “the drop in the number of school nurses is yet another symptom of the school funding crisis. It is simply untenable that head teachers should have to continue to struggle on with a situation that is so negatively affecting the education and wellbeing of our children and young people,” says Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers.

The continuation of deteriorated services could lead to pupils with health conditions unable to attend mainstream schools. According to The Future of Children’s Health England Policy Report published May 2017, the RCN are calling on local authorities to guarantee an ordered health visiting service, which will enable each child to have access to a beneficial school nursing services system. Calls have also been made by the RCN for government to allocate sufficient resources to local authorities and to review the impact that public health funding cuts will have on the Healthy Child Programme.

“Local authorities are best placed to make choices about services for their community which is why decisions about public health funding sit with them. To help, we are investing more than £16bn in local government public health services over the current spending period, and will continue to support schools in their duty to make arrangements for pupils with medical needs,” announces a Spokesman from the Department of Health.

Interested in the discussion of the impact of long-term conditions on young people? Come along to the Long-Term Conditions Conference on 25th January 2018 at the QEII Centre London to watch key stakeholders discuss policy and strategies. Register your place here.