The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned that the children with asthma, epilepsy and diabetes are being put seriously at risk because of the shortages of school nurses.
RCN is calling on the Government to ensure that the local authorities are provided with the funds needed for fully staffed school nursing services.
RCN said that due to the accelerating rate of nurses leaving schools, teachers are being left without vital training, and pupils without necessary support. The college also said that if services continue to worsen, pupils with serious health conditions may not be able to attend mainstream schools due to the risk of there not being a nurse to hand.
According to the new data published by the National Health Service (NHS), over 550 school nurses were lost over the last seven years. It is almost a fifth (19 per cent) of the total NHS workforce in England.
In particular, the fall has gathered in recent months, as more than a hundred nurses have been lost across England in this year alone. About a quarter of 11-15 year olds in England have a long-term illness or disability, with many suffering from conditions like diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and arthritis.
Fiona Smith, RCN Professional Lead for Children and Young People’s Nursing said that it would be completely unfair if a child couldn’t participate in school life because of their health condition. Every child has the right to an education and it is the Government’s responsibility to make that happen.
She further added that it is time the government wakes up and realises the hugely detrimental impact these cuts are having to children and the society. School nursing is a critical service and it needs to be treated as such.
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