Nurses will now work for birth control in all the schools of England in a move to slash the rising incidence of teenage pregnancies.
There are currently 2,409 nurses who work in primary and secondary schools across the country but the latest announcement signals a massive extension, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
AdvertisementBy 2010, every primary care trust will be funded to have at least one full-time qualified nurse working with each small group of state primary schools and their local secondary, it said.
Clinics based in secondary schools already offer condoms and the morning-after pill to pupils or arrange fast-track doctors' appointments.
Statistics released recently reveal that thousands of 13-year-old girls have been handed the morning-after pill by health service staff without their parents' permission.
Among 302 primary care trusts across the country, around 2,400 girls aged 13 or younger received the morning-after pill last year.
However, teenage pregnancies are continuing to rise despite a 40-million pound government campaign to reduce the problem. Sexually transmitted diseases are also reaching epidemic levels.
Nurses will be able to "provide contraceptive advice to pupils and emergency contraception and pregnancy testing to young women", says the new guidance to primary and secondary school heads.
It says nurses are the best people to provide this service because they are "able to assess need and prescribe appropriate medication/provide specialist contraception advice for the future".
They can also help pupils who are concerned with "issues of sexual identity", for example if they are gay or bisexual.