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NZNO supports nurses in low-decile schools

2 June 2013:

NZNO strongly endorses the Green Party’s $30 million plan, announced in Christchurch today, to put a nurse in every low decile school in the country, as part of its strategy to eliminate child poverty.

“There is abundant evidence that children’s health improves, if they can get school-based nursing services,” NZNO’s nursing policy adviser/researcher Dr Jill Clendon said. “New Zealand research shows that if a nurse can assess and focus care on the specific needs of children and whānau in a school community, health outcomes improve.”

Dr Clendon said the Green Party’s plan demonstrated it understood the vital role of nurses in improving both access to health care and health outcomes, particularly for the most disadvantaged.

The plan proposes a national school nursing framework with a dedicated public health nurse working in every decile one to three primary and intermediate school in the country, providing health care for around 112,000 children.

Dr Clendon said NZNO’s submission to the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children recommended a nurse in every school and urged cross-party agreement on child health and well-being.

“Child poverty is a societal issue and responsibility for eliminating it should be shared. Funding nurses to practise in low decile schools addresses some of the links between poverty, ill health and educational underachievement,” she said.

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