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Health advisory service for Brum schools

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust (BCHC) has been awarded the contract to provide a school health advisory service for the city of Birmingham from 1 April 2016.

Birmingham City Council, as commissioners of the service, selected BCHC to deliver the service for two years with options on a further two 12-month extensions.

The service for all school-age children in Birmingham is different to the existing school nursing service provided by BCHC.

Working closely with commissioners to meet the needs and expectations of children and families across the city, the Trust has scoped out an innovative multi-agency, multidisciplinary approach to service delivery, working closely with schools, families and Third Sector partners.

schoolgirls

The service model is designed to ensure a highly accessible and visible presence, with a nurse visiting each secondary school at least once a week and each primary school at least once a fortnight.

Additional opportunities to speak to a school nurse outside a child’s normal place of education will be available – a key service enhancement designed to support some of the most vulnerable children such as asylum-seekers, refugees and other newly-arrived families and also those children not attending mainstream schools – for example, those receiving education at home; at the City of Birmingham School pupil referral unit; or within the Youth Offending Service.

A school health advisory service nurse will act as a ‘first port of call’ for children, parents, carers and education professionals, signposting to GPs, hospitals or other healthcare providers as appropriate.

As part of the service offer, an innovative partnership with children’s charities Barnardo’sSpurgeons and Family Action ensures ready access to additional specialist expertise and support on a highly individualised basis to meet each child’s particular needs.

The new universal service model is made up of six care pathways, together designed to provide a level of support, care and assessment to every child and extra intervention as and when required:

  • health and medical needs 
  • healthy weight 
  • drugs, alcohol and smoking 
  • emotional health 
  • sexual health 
  • health surveillance

In an additional innovation, a new service enabling children and young people to contact their school nurse by text message is due to go live in February, further enhancing the accessibility of school nurse advice and support.

Associate director of universal children’s services Liz Webster said: “The success of our bid to continue as the provider of healthcare services in Birmingham schools is testament to our school nursing teams’ dedication to provide universal healthcare support to all school-age children and, where a need is identified, to some of the most vulnerable young people and their families.

“Every single member of the school nursing team has played a part in securing this opportunity thanks to their enthusiasm to help engage with the process of designing a new service for the children and families of Birmingham.

“The school nurses in Birmingham are already recognised as providing an excellent service. The exciting challenge we are now delighted to take on is to give the city a school health advisory service that is even better.”

Birmingham Community Healthcare provides school nursing and health advisory services in Birmingham, Sandwell and Staffordshire.