New School Nurse text based health service
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust School Nursing Service launched its text based school nurse service as an integral part of the new school nurse delivery model on Monday 18 January 2016.
With more and more children and young people using hand-held mobile devices in their daily lives, the ChatHealth, text service is an easy way for young people to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, or make an appointment with a school nurse. They can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support or sexual health services. In pilot areas of the country such as Leicestershire already using ChatHealth, young people have said they like using the messaging service because it is:
- Less embarrassing
- Quick and easy
ChatHealth is now available and allows young people in Northamptonshire to send messages to a dedicated number (07937 947966) which is delivered to a secure website. Once there, texts will be responded to by the Northamptonshire School Nursing Team within one working day. The service is available Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm excluding bank holidays. During out–of–hours, anyone who texts the service will receive an automated message with advice on where to get help if their question is urgent.
The service launched for secondary school aged pupils with a planned roll out to include a separate service for parents in spring 2016. Anyone aged 11-19 years can receive confidential advice on a wide range of issues such as bullying, emotional health and wellbeing, sexual health as well as illnesses.
Deputy Director for the trust’s Children and Specialist Ambulatory Services, Sharon Toyer said: “We are very excited to launch the ChatHealth text messaging service for children and young people. Our team of school nurses are widely spread across the whole of Northamptonshire providing a service to the county’s population of children and young people, and the use of the text messaging service is another point of contact for them to access their school nurse. Plus, it’s free and confidential and utilising the technology that young people are familiar and comfortable with.
“As a trust we are committed to delivering compassionate quality care and providing the ChatHealth service will further support us to improve the health of children and young people of Northamptonshire.”
Councillor and Deputy Leader of the County Council Heather Smith for Children’s Services said:
“Over the past 18 months the school nursing service and their commissioners have worked with children, young people and their families, education and wider stakeholders to redesign the school nursing service. The re-developed service will assure the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme and improve access to services for children and young people across Northamptonshire. Our overall aim as a county council is to reduce vulnerability and increase wellbeing, resilience and safeguarding.”