Posted by Les Divers on Nov 05, 2018

Whare Hauora, an amazing new in-school health facility created by Starship Community, in partnership with the Starship Foundation and Bartfoot & Thompson. Located at Panmure Bridge School, the relocatable clinic is designed to provide a higher quality of community health care to primary students.

Whare Hauora is the brainchild of Nurse Consultant Sarah Williams who saw first-hand the need for appropriate spaces for healthcare within schools, and has worked on the project from conception through to reality.

Sarah says: “The Whare Hauora project celebrates a collaboration between health and education which came about through a shared vision and established relationship. Experience had shown us that having a nurse available in the primary school space greatly supports children who have health issues that are preventing them attending school or engaging in learning activities. This approach works even better if there is an appropriate facility for our nurses and others to use.”

Richard Johnston, Principal of Panmure Bridge School, says: “This concept makes a significant and positive change in the relationship between education (the school ) and health. The model developed here, in creating a respectful and purpose built environment, has huge potential to be up-scaled across the education sector to meet the needs of many communities.

Sarah Williams was a fulltime school nurse in a Mount Roskill Decile 1 school for 3 years working out of an old dental clinic. When the clinic had to be demolished because of asbestos in the ceiling she had to make do working out of a classroom with another teacher. With the challenges that posed for privacy she started to investigate the facilities school nurses were enduring in our schools. She discovered that only 9 of the 15 nurses had a dedicated room, 12 did not have a bed, only one had access to hot water and only 7 had a dedicated waiting room.

She determined to change things. Fortuitously she was introduced to Richard Johnston of Panmure Bridge School (and we all know Richard as someone who is a master as implementing change and getting things done). Sarah’s passion to ensure there were appropriate spaces for health care within schools meant that after just 55 days to design and cost, 274 days to engage key stakeholders and secure funding and 484 days from conception to completion the first Whare Hauora was opened at Panmure Bridge School on the 9th August 2018.

It is an in-school relocatable health facility which contains a small waiting area, a private treatment space where patients are seen and office space at the rear for administration. The collaboration between health and education funders such as Barfoot & Thompson and the DHB creates huge potential for the project to be upscaled across the education sector to meet the needs of many communities.

Richard commented that the catalyst for the project was the SWIS (Social Worker in Schools) building funded by the Ray & Ernie Johnston Memorial Trust.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller