No more fever checks at schools


A Porirua deputy prin­ci­pal has slammed plans to stop a school­based pro­gramme de­signed to com­bat the re­gion’s high rate of rheumatic fever.

The Min­istry of Health launched the pre­ven­tion pro­gramme in 2012, which in­cluded throat swab­bing at Porirua pri­mary schools.

How­ever, Cap­i­tal & Coast DHB has an­nounced throat swab­bing will leave schools and now take place only at med­i­cal cen­tres.

Can­nons Creek School deputy prin­ci­pal Kirsty Holden said re­mov­ing school-based health checks was a step back­wards in the bat­tle against rheumatic fever.

‘‘We have worked very hard with our won­der­ful pub­lic health nurse and we have made it a rou­tine for par­ents, kids and teach­ers,’’ she said.

‘‘Par­ents trust the teach­ers, they trust the school and they trust the nurse.’’

She said that un­der the new scheme chil­dren would take a let­ter home in­form­ing par­ents they needed to be taken to a clinic, but trans­port and time away from work were bar­ri­ers that could pre­vent ac­cess to the ser­vice.

Pasi­fika peo­ple are 50 times more likely to con­tract rheumatic fever and be­cause of a high amount of Pasi­fika stu­dents, with­draw­ing the ser­vice from school meant chil­dren could miss out on health care.

The health board’s San­dra Wil­liams said sore throats didn’t just hap­pen in school hours, which was why the pro­gramme changed.

‘‘We’ve en­sured Porirua par­ents can have their chil­dren’s sore throats checked and treated at com­mu­nity-based GP clin­ics at any time.

‘‘This will be much more con­ve­nient for fam­i­lies – they don’t have to be en­rolled with a par­tic­u­lar GP to use the clinic, and no ap­point­ment needed.’’

Re­gional Pub­lic Health nurses would still visit schools to en­sure chil­dren with sore throats are checked at clin­ics, and the DHB would mon­i­tor the pro­gramme.

Dr Larry Jor­dan of Whitby Doc­tors Med­i­cal Cen­tre said the free clin­ics were good news for Porirua fam­i­lies.

‘‘While it’s true the schools had a cap­tive au­di­ence, it also meant other peo­ple were miss­ing out.’’

The clinic-based pro­gramme be­gan in Porirua East about 18 months ago and the re­sponse was that it was val­ued and worth­while, he said. or pay­ment is


The clin­ics of­fer­ing free screen­ing and treat­ment are: Ti­tahi Bay Surgery, Whitby Doc­tors, Mana Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Plim­mer­ton Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Tawa Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Lin­den Surgery, Ti­tahi Bay Doc­tors, Kenepuru Ac­ci­dent and Med­i­cal Clinic, Pa­cific Health Ser­vice Porirua, Wai­tan­girua Health Cen­tre, Porirua Union and Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre, Ora Toa Taka­puwahia Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Ora Toa Mun­gavin Med­i­cal Cen­tre and Ora Toa Can­nons Creek Med­i­cal Cen­tre.

Erin An­der­son, left, and Saskia Janssen were well in the mix for the Plim­mer­ton Mid­win­ter Dip on Sun­day. The rain and cold couldn’t keep more than 250 peo­ple from at­tend­ing Plim­mer­ton Kin­der­garten’s main fundraiser – 120 of whom went into the wa­ter – and it was hoped more than $6000 was raised. Co-or­gan­iser Michelle Sharp said it went well con­sid­er­ing the weather and the sup­port from the com­mu­nity was, as ex­pected, out­stand­ing.

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