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New school nurse model launched with a virtual nursing service ‘ChatHealth’

Wednesday, 18th November 2015.

Suffolk’s School Nursing service is introducing a virtual school nurse service as an integral part of the new school nurse model.

With more and more children and young people using hand held mobile devices in their daily lives, the ChatHealth, text service is an easy way for young people to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, or make an appointment with a school nurse. They can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support or sexual health services. In pilot areas in the country such as Leicestershire already using ChatHealth, pupils have said they like using the messaging service because it is:

• Less embarrassing
• Quick and easy
• Anonymous
• Non-judgemental

Launched today at Trinity Park with a demo for school nurses, ChatHealth will be available from 18 November and will allow young people in Suffolk to send messages to a dedicated number, 07937 947956 which will be delivered to a secure website. Once there, texts will be responded to by the Suffolk School Nursing Team within one working day. The service will be available on Monday to Friday 9am – 4.30 excluding bank holidays. During Out–of–hours, anyone who texts the service will receive a an automated message with advice on where to get help if their question is urgent.

The service will initially be launched for secondary school aged pupils with a planned roll out to younger pupils, pupils in Special schools and parents in spring 2016. Anyone aged 11-19 can receive confidential advice on a wide range of issues such as bullying, emotional health and wellbeing, sexual health as well as illnesses.

The philosophy of the school nurse service has moved from school age children to allow access to any school aged child or young person regardless of where they receive education. They will also support them as individuals as they move into adulthood.

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said:

“Over the past 18 months the school nursing service have worked with children, young people and their families, education and wider stakeholders to redesign the school nursing service. There has been some fantastic work going into this and I’m pleased that the new integrated school nursing model will deliver the Healthy Child Programme through five key pathways. These will be based on physical health and development, sexual health, emotional health and wellbeing, and further support which aims to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience and safeguarding.”

The school Nurse Model will adopt five key principles:

·Engaging with service users, placing their experience at the heart of the service

·Improving quality by focusing on outcomes

·Use the Suffolk Signs of Safety and Wellbeing model for safeguarding

·Deliver, develop and promote best practice

·Partnerships with clinicians, teachers and key stakeholders

Councillor Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health:

“School nurses act as local leaders in health for young people and their families; they work as part of the school community to improve health and wellbeing. The vision for school nursing in Suffolk is to provide an improved service for all school aged children regardless of whether they are home educated or in an education setting. This will be supported by new ways of working, consistency of approach and the ability to keep an appropriately qualified and skilled workforce to help Suffolk’s young people. This new model embraces creativity, positively encourages innovation tailoring the service to meet the needs of individuals, putting children at the centre of all we do.”

Haverhill Online News

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