SPANZ Day 3 - Workshop - Karen Smith (Whangarei Boys) and Melissa Gilbert-Smith - Health Services in Schools


Dr Melissa Gilbert-Smith

From the SPANZ programme:

Sure we have a relationship with a local GP clinic from whom we contract a nurse for a number of hours each day. This means that we also able to take students to the clinic outside of those times to see a GP directly and have a prescription filled as necessary. If the student is not enrolled with a GP this offer is made to the whanau. The school pays for a med tech license which means all the students information is entered on the system at the school end and his GP gets the notes if he is seen by the nurse. We are also able to claim funds from ACC and this offsets the cost of the nursing hours.  

We went this way because of the number of boys who didn’t come to school if they were sick combined with many of our boys not having a GP so attendance improved and the boys did not miss time off school. We also had poor outcomes with the PHO provided nurse as this was a service more focussed on gathering youth health stats than actually seeing boys and getting them help. All boys who look like they may be paying a visit to the board are assessed for any underlying health issues prior to any disciplinary action being taken.


  • Minimise loss - teaching, learning, parental employment
  • Timeliness - health issue addressed
  • Access improved - prioritise Maori, shortcut registration with GP
  • Collegial Support - PLD , health centre support, standing orders
  • Finance incentive - generate funds through ACC claims
  • Avoid health system complexity - PHO/DHB
  • Local connectedness - relationships with clinic, whanau

Data (snapshot of a term)

  • 69% of students who had medical appointments did not miss school prior to the appointment
  • 51% had <3 days off after their appointment
  • 4% missed >3 days after appointment
  • 33% missed no days prior to or after appointment


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