Overhaul on the way for Lancashire's school nurse and health visitor services

Michelle Lee is  managing director for Virgin Care in LancashireMichelle Lee is  managing director for Virgin Care in Lancashire
Michelle Lee is managing director for Virgin Care in Lancashire
Best known to many as Nitty Nora, the school nurse is getting a makeover.

After years in the doldrums, which have seen a periodic demise in the once familiar role, the school nurse service is undergoing a major transformation.

Spearheading the overhaul of health visiting and school nursing services in the county is Michelle Lee , who started out as a nurse with the NHS in 1979.

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Now, nearly 40 years later ,she is managing director for Virgin Care in Lancashire and as part of the work being done by the Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service, run on behalf of Lancashire County Council, is overseeing a three-year transformation programme to make sure children, young people and their families are able to access a consistent, quality service.

Michelle said: "Over the past 40 years I have seen many changes in the methods and the technologies available to nurses and other health professionals, and of course now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to find innovative new ways to drive forward our transformation so that we can continue to provide services to families during these difficult times.

"We’ve already taken some really positive steps and I am excited to watch the service develop further over the coming months."

Besides her many years working on the front line, which included roles as an adult and paediatric nurse, Michelle has also undertaken senior roles where transformation and innovation were key to success.

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She was an early advocate of integrated care in Oldham and implemented one of the first nationally recognised integrated healthcare team models across community and acute care whilst at Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Michelle has never lost her love of nursing an is believes passionately in integrated care.

She said: "There is one thing that remains constant however we change our ways of working, and that is the personal and caring element of the work we do day in, day out, to help children and young people to get the best start in life and to provide dedicated support to their parents and carers.

"We are absolutely committed to making a positive difference to families across Lancashire."

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Since Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service was launched in April 2019, Virgin Care has carried out a number of initiatives including creating hubs in Preston (Central), Burnley (East) and Lancaster (North) as well as multiple spokes for colleagues to work from.

More recently the service launched virtual groups for parents and carers to access advice on a range of topics as an alternative to attending face-to-face appointments and sessions. These started during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the use of virtual consultations, and will continue to be made available in the long term.

Anyone wanting to find out more about Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service can visit https://lancsyoungpeoplefamilyservice.co.uk/ or like Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service on Facebook.

Contact the service on 0300 247 0040 or by e-mailing [email protected] from Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

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