Newlife Charity Press Statement

Nurses’ concerns are no surprise to Newlife

Leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children is very concerned by the recent report from the Royal College of Nursing and Unison which highlights that one in three school nurses and support staff do not feel confident or comfortable with the responsibility of administering medicines or providing healthcare support to pupils.

As a national charity operating a specialist Nurse Helpline as part of our range of services, we are not surprised. We hear regularly from families who have to go in to school and look after their children.

Parents are called on to administer medication, lift their child from a wheelchair to a standing frame or even feed them. We know of families who go in to their child’s school three times a day to change incontinence pads or take them to the toilet.

We are also contacted by school nurses and teachers asking for help to purchase specialist equipment so they can meet the needs of children with disabilities. Items such as hoists, seating systems, standing frames and communication aids are regularly refused funding by statutory services. This places an even greater pressure on these front line professionals, who turn to Newlife to provide the equipment to help their pupils overcome life’s obstacles.

We wholly support the RCN and UNISON’s call that every child with health needs should have an up-to-date and individual care plan, that staff must have specific training for each child, that schools and Local Authorities must ensure they match staff, with sufficient training and pay, to the needs of children and that every school has a policy on the management of medicines and health care support.

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