A recruitment drive to get more nurses in Welsh schools has got under way in a bid to crack down on obesity and alcohol misuse and improve the quality of sex education.
It is part of the Welsh Assembly government's "One Wales" scheme to get at least one family nurse working in every secondary school by the end of 2011. Family nurses will also extend their duties to include engagement with families.
Assembly Member Edwina Hart said: "The challenge of improving Wales' health must start with our children and young people.
"Increasing numbers of children are developing chronic conditions and complex health problems and it is only by improving support in schools that we can tackle these issues before they become endemic.
"The current school nursing service is variable across Wales and may not be providing a comprehensive service to all. Our goal is to ensure that the health service provided to school-age children and young people is sustainable, adaptable to change, responsive and effective, ensuring continued development and improvement."
There are 224 mainstream secondary schools in Wales with 209 nurses working in them.
"Good to see that the Welsh Government wants to increase the school nurses’ input to secondary schools. There are numerous ways in which school nurses can support young people and families but deciding between various worthwhile interventions can be difficult. This is discussed in a forthcoming paper due out in the New Year: Gleeson C. School nurses’ workloads – how should they be prioritised? Community Practitioner 2009;82(1):32-35." - Catherine Gleeson, W Yorkshire