FUNDING for school nurses in Hampshire will be increased by up to £2.5million over the next five years.

Hampshire County Council has announced that it plans to allocate the additional funding to specifically support children and young people in Hampshire physically and emotionally.

In April last year, responsibility for the public health of five to 19-year-olds transferred to local authorities.

School nurses provide a range of specialist public health support and advice, and deal with various matters including growth and development, wetting and soiling problems, safe management of allergies, immunisations, sexual health and parenting.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and public health, said: “Providing a focused service to support vulnerable older children, as well as extending growth, development and wellbeing checks for children in Year 6, is vital in helping to avoid more costly and intrusive intervention later on.

“All the evidence supports early action, listening to children and young people at the earliest opportunity – healthy children will become our future healthy adult workforce.”

One of the key aims for the council is to ensure that children and young people and their parents know how to contact the school nursing service direct.

Cllr Fairhurst said: “Being more visible in schools and ensuring children and young people know how to contact a nurse will ensure that those who need extra support are put in touch with expert help as quickly as possible, thereby helping to avoid problems going untreated and causing greater difficulties in later life.”

The extra funding, agreed by Cllr Fairhurst, will increase the value of the five-year school nursing contract from £17.6m to £20.1m.

The new contract will be in place from April 2015.