Researches and campaigners say that UK needs at least 11,000 more school nurses to deal with the increasingly complex needs of young individuals after the pandemic, to prevent them from developing serious mental health problems.
Within the last five years the number of school nurses have fallen by 35% and research which was conducted by the University of Birmingham, Oxford Brookes University and Oxford Health NHS foundation trust has found that a lack of long-term investment has risen to many local areas scrapping the roles altogether.
Dr. Georgia Cook, A researcher from Oxford Brookes University said that after the survey, nurses from 78 schools shared feelings of exhaustion, low morals and stress. To carryout preventive public health work, policymakers need to promote and recognize the integral role of school nurses. This should be supported by a sufficient workforce. The key to increase complex needs of children and young individuals in the wake if the pandemic is by school nurse numbers.
Cook suggested by Commissioning school public health models that placed experienced nurses in leadership roles within school, the local authorities and government should emphasize the value of school nurses.
Recruiting 11,500 additional school nurses would involve a wage cost of pounds 445 M and training cost of pounds 805 M, was mentioned in a recent Institute for Public policy Research Report.
Bekaert said that this would be difficult, but suggested, over a decade it could take place, by investing pounds 80M a year in training schemes for school nurses. The areas where schools are deprived, to first receive additional health staff.
An inclusion specialist at the association of school and college leaders, Margaret Mulholland said that although schools “greatly value the work that nurses do” cuts to local public health services had reduced numbers and she would like to see funding to have a shared nurse for at least every two schools. She also said that although some schools prefer to employ their own nurse, budget constraints mean this is not possible in most cases without making cuts elsewhere.
A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social care said that the school nurses were the responsibility of local authority commissioners, working with their service provider, based upon the local needs, to determine the school nurse numbers.