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Mayoral praise for school nurse ambassadors

Young school nurse ambassadors gave an insight into their role and ideas for the future at the official launch of the Birmingham School Health Advisory Service.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice, was guest of honour and joined in the celebration of Birmingham’s school nurse ambassadors by awarding special pin badges in recognition of their contribution during the past academic year.

The event offered a chance to find out more about the development of the service, which was designed with substantial input from young people across the city in an effort to best meet their needs.

BCHC was awarded the contract to provide a school health advisory service for the city of Birmingham from 1 April 2016.

[ Zoom ]
Birmingham School Health Advisory Service launch
School nurse ambassadors, teachers and school nurses are pictured with The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Car Rice, at the official launch of the school health advisory service.

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 previous school nursing service, also provided by BCHC. Working closely with commissioners to meet the needs and expectations of children and families across the city, BCHC has designed an innovative multi-agency, multidisciplinary approach to service delivery, working closely with schools, families and Third Sector partners.

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’s, Spurgeons 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 set to be launched, further enhancing the accessibility of school nurse advice and support.

Interim associate director of universal children’s services Carol Rogerson said:

“Being given the opportunity to design and deliver this new service is testament to our school nurses’ commitment to supporting every school-age child in the city and, where necessary, providing some of the city’s most vulnerable young people with extra help when they need it.

“The school health advisory service has been up and running for more than three months and feedback has been positive. There will be ongoing improvements as part of that process of responding to what children, families and staff in schools tell us they want and need.

“A very important part of that continuous improvement process is the contribution of our school nurse ambassadors so we’re delighted to celebrate their achievements.

“In the first school year we’ve had this programme in Birmingham, they have been a tremendous asset in promoting health and wellbeing among their peers and feeding back to us what young people want and need from their service.”

Birmingham City Council cabinet member for health and social care, Councillor Paulette Hamilton said:

“This is a hugely important service that can make a big difference to the lives of all young people in Birmingham and particularly some of the most vulnerable.

"We have a responsibility to look after the physical and mental health of our young people and this service tackles important issues like sexual health, drug and alcohol use, smoking as well as emotional issues.

"The service has been designed with the full involvement of young people and it’s great to see the school nurse ambassadors’ enthusiasm for supporting these important messages about health and wellbeing.

 “The nurses provide an invaluable service in our schools and our challenge is to work together to deliver a service that meets the needs of all young people in the city."

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