The Chief Nurse for England, Ruth May, made a visit to Newham's Specialist Children's and Young People's Service (SCYPS) nurses on Thursday 10 June.
Her visit included Cleves primary school and Royal Docks Academy where specialist nurses have been working as part of a project team to ensure that children with complex needs can return to school.
Children that have a tracheostomy, long term ventilation or complex respiratory difficulties require Aerosol Generated Procedures to help them breathe.
This has been especially challenging to manage with the strict enforcement of COVID19 guidance regards to space, ventilation and enhanced Personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic.
Linda Trubshaw, Curriculum Support Teacher at Cleves explained to Mrs May how important the work of the Specialist School Nursing project team had been to the school.
“Without their expertise and guidance, there are children here who would still isolated at home.
“Our link nurse is phenomenal. We have regular contact and all issues are resolved straight away. Staff and parents feel empowered and knowledgeable because of the care and dedication that goes into the support we receive.
A parent whose child is a student at Custom’s House Royal Docks Academy School explained how vital the work of the Specialist School Nurses is to Mrs May.
“I can’t praise the nurses and teaching staff here enough.
“The dedication and effort they have put into helping to get my son and other children back into school, and then supporting them to take a full part in activities, has been outstanding.
“My son feels connected and he loves being here.”
Four specialist school nurses currently support over 150 children across the borough with profound or complex physical needs in both mainstream and special schools.
Zama Shozi, the Head of the Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties Unit at Royal Docks Academy said:
“It was a delight to welcome the Chief Nurse of England to our school and have her meet children and staff.
“We work hard to ensure every child gets access to a broad and varied curriculum, which includes sporting activities such as adaptive rowing and boccia, despite the current challenges of the pandemic.
“This is all made possible by staff, nurses and parents working together to support our children – teamwork is essential.”
England’s Chief Nurse finished her visit to the borough by meeting all the Newham SCYPS nurses at the Trust’s Appleby Health Centre in Canning Town.
Mrs May said: “I’m here to say thank you to you all. These last sixteen months have been the most challenging of times, but I’ve never been so proud to be a nurse and to be working in the NHS.
“You have kept children and families safe and have worked to give those children the best chance in life.”