The College of Medicine’s Deputy Chair, Professor Sir Sam Everington, has called for every school to have access to a qualified nurse, in a passionate article for the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) magazine.
Sir Sam, who is a GP at the Bromley-by-Bow Health Centre in London’s Tower Hamlets, urged the Government to fund Social Prescribing projects in schools across the UK, as well as providing pupils with a nurse or equivalent healthcare practitioner.
Citing sobering health statistics around young people, Sir Sam said a quarter of adolescent girls self harm, and around 31 per cent of children aged 11 are currently overweight.
He wrote: ‘We need a nurse or equivalent in every school and on every governing board – someone who has the wider skillset to manage all the social, physical and psychological determinants of health.’
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The GP and Social Prescribing campaigner also referenced successful examples of transforming health in schools. He said: ‘In Oxford, the local authority is supporting a school nurse in every secondary school.
‘The amazing charity Place2Be supports mental health projects in many schools around the country, as does the Healthy Schools Project.
‘What is needed are the resources, the nurses or equivalent and a desire to invest in our future generation.’
WHAT IS SOCIAL PRESCRIBING?
Social prescribing is a way of actively connecting people to activities, groups and services that can improve their health and wellbeing. For example, people may visit their GP because they may be feeling stressed about their work, money, or because they are lonely and isolated. But these problems cannot be fixed by medicine, or doctors, alone.
Social prescribing links people to a range of activities and services, based on their situation and preferences. This could include, for example, volunteering, arts activities, gardening, befriending, advice on debt or finances, and a range of sports.