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School nursing contract removed from Staffordshire Trust

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School nurses will be replaced with a new service School nurses will be replaced with a new service offering more holistic care

The school nursing service in North Staffordshire will be replaced by a new system which will offer year round care for school-age children.

Earlier this year the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust submitted bids to provide the school nursing service for both Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire when the previous contracts were coming to an end.

While the Trust was successful in winning the contract from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, it was not successful in winning the bid to provide the same service for Staffordshire County Council.

The new service, named The Child Health and Wellbeing Programme, instead will be taken over by Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust. The new service will begin from 1 September 2015 providing care to children and young people up to the age of 19 in areas such as emotional wellbeing, sexual health, substance use, physical activity and smoking.

The Child Health and Wellbeing Programme will also deliver some clinical management and support for children and young people including pupils in special schools up to the age of 20.

A Staffordshire County Council spokesperson said: 'We chose Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust because they demonstrated that they could provide an effective service which would meet the needs of children and young people. They have a good track record in delivering similar services in other parts of the West Midlands, not just Birmingham. In particular they demonstrated innovative approaches to engaging and communicating with children and young people.'

The Council stated that the school nursing service was not being replaced in an attempt to save money. 'First and foremost it was about getting the right programme for children, young people and their families. To do this it made sense to join up with other health commissioners across Staffordshire. By pooling our resources more efficiently, this collaboration will deliver an improved and expanded service while offering better value for tax-payers' money.'

The Council said that it did not expect any redundancies to occur in the changeover to the new programme and that all current staff terms and conditions would be protected.

Stuart Poynor, the chief executive of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust, said: "Our bid to provide the service for Stoke-on-Trent City Council was successful. The specification for the service is determined by the Council as our commissioners, and we are aware that the service will require a different staff model and skill mix than previously provided by the school nursing service. We will continue to work closely with staff to support them through these changes.'

Mr Poynor added: 'We are very disappointed to have been informed that we were not successful in winning the tender to provide the same service for Staffordshire County Council.

'Delivery of the highest quality of care is at the heart of everything we do and we will work closely with commissioners, key partners, staff and service users to ensure that transtition to the new model of care runs as smoothly as possible and meets the changing needs of our service users.'

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