Doubt over government's school nurse expansion plan

The government has abandoned its policy to put a specialist school nurse in every secondary school by 2010, says Unite.

The government’s child health strategy, released this week, committed only to ‘a school nurse team’ for each local area, which the union says is too vague.

Unite national officer for health, Karen Reay, said the school nurse service was at ‘breaking point’ because of new initiatives, such as immunising girls to prevent cervical cancer.

‘We are dismayed that there is only a vague reference in this latest document to a school health team in every local area, with no definition of the size of that area,’ she said.

In 2004’s Choosing Health White Paper, the government stated that all 3,300 secondary schools in England would have a specialist school nurse by 2010. 

NHS statistics suggest there are currently less than 900 whole-time equivalent school nurses in England.

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