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New guide to improve school based health services launched

New guide to improve school based health services launched

Talofa lava. Malo e lelei. Faklofa Iahi atu. Ni sa bula vinaka. Kia orana. Taloha ni. Kia ora koutou katoa. Greetings.

Thank you Fetaiaki Tukia Matu for your warm welcome and thank you also Neil Watson for hosting us this morning.

Hekia Parata and I are very pleased to be able to come to Otahuhu College to officially launch the new guide to help deliver better health services for secondary school students.

The College’s track record of ensuring young people have access to comprehensive and youth friendly health services provides an ideal location for the launch.

Otahuhu College takes an active role in improving the health and wellbeing of students. Through your Health and Wellness Centre, students can see a range of health professionals.

Last year, there were over 3,500 nurse appointments, 600 GP appointments, 650 social worker appointments and 550 physiotherapy appointments through the school’s onsite Health and Wellness Centre.

There are weekly school multidisciplinary team meeting where the deputy principal, guidance counsellors, social workers, nurse manager, resource teachers, deans and the school policeman work together to help young people.

There is also a student health council to ensure young people are involved in planning and implementing health services.

Evidence shows quality school health services are effective in improving student health and wellbeing. And improved student health leads to better participation in education which in turn provides better opportunities for our young people.

I commend you on the work you are doing.

Good health and good education for young people are essential to the Government’s goal of building a productive and competitive economy. They also help young New Zealanders reach their full potential.

The guide we are launching today is part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project and has the aim of improving the mental health of young people with or at risk of developing mild to moderate mental health issues.

It is a practical tool to assist those planning, funding or providing primary healthcare services in secondary schools to continuously improve the quality of those services.

It draws on national and international evidence and was developed with input from an expert advisory group whose membership extended across the health, education and welfare sectors and included young people.

This is great an example of the whole of government approach is driving real change in how departments are working together to generate the best collective outcome for New Zealanders.

The Ministry of Health has funded school based health services in decile 1 and 2 secondary schools, teen parent units and alternative education facilities since 2009. The Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project extended the service to decile 3 secondary schools.

The extension of programme will mean by July 2014 an extra 19,000 students in 44 decile 3 secondary schools will have access to school based health services – bringing the total number of students to around 55,000 students.

Locating health services in schools improves ease of access to health care services for students by eliminating transportation issues and reducing loss of class time.

Access is not just about location. Because school health services are free, confidential and on-site they also remove a lot of barriers for young people accessing health services.
Students learn how to use health services in a non–intimidating environment; and referrals are made to appropriate community providers.

Our Government is serious about ensuring a prosperous future for all New Zealanders. To do this we must ensure our young people have the best possible opportunity to achieve educational success.

As schools’ implement this new framework, it will lead to better health and education outcomes for students.

I would like to thank all people who make a contribution to the health and education of young people and encourage you to use this framework to develop and continuously improve health services for young people in secondary schools.

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