COUNTY chiefs are ploughing £2.5 million into Hampshire’s school nursing service in a bid to nip bad health in the bud.

The extra funding will be made available over five years for a service to detect and treat any physical and mental health problems early on.

It will allow more support for young people up to the age of 19.

This follows Government reforms last year that transferred responsibility for the public health of five to 19-year-olds from the NHS to local authorities.

Adult Social Care and Public Health boss, Cllr Liz Fairhurst, 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 interventions 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 our key aims is also to ensure that it’s not only teachers who know how to contact the service, but that children and young people, as well as parents, are able to get in touch with the school nursing service direct.

“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.”

This additional funding will increase the value of the five year school nursing contract from £17.6 million to £20.1 million.

The new contract will be in place from April 1 next year.