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One of Adelaide’s major hospitals has opened up a school for children who are patients there.

The new campus, at Lyell McEwin Hospital, is the third hospital school in South Australia. The other schools already operating are at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Flinders Medical Centre.

Maeve Downes, the Women’s and Children’s Division Nursing Director said the NALHN [North Adelaide Local Health Network] Hospital School would be available to inpatients and the siblings of patients from rural and remote areas.

“It will be the first Hospital School in the state to educate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children as young as three,” she said.

“This collaboration between NALHN and Hospital School SA will ensure children in our care can continue their education and stay engaged with their studies despite any health obstacles that stand in their way.”

Designed for those in pre-school through to year 12 students, Hospital Schools in South Australia provide classroom and ward-based education for students to continue their learning while they or a sibling is undergoing treatment.

South Australia’s Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said the program would specifically address the needs of those with acute, chronic and mental health conditions.

“Being a patient at a hospital shouldn’t prevent children from being able to continue their education. The new Hospital School SA campus will make access to education easier and less stressful for our patients and their families,” Mr Wade added.

The aim of the NALHN, Ms Downes said, was to ensure that the hospitals offered every opportunity to support children to develop to their full potential while delivering exceptional, holistic healthcare. The school she said had already delivered throughout a COVID-affected 2020.

“The Lyell McEwin Hospital School will assist children to maintain their education, develop their strengths, and experience a smooth transition back to their community-based school when they are ready to leave hospital,” Ms Downes said.

“While the official launch of the Hospital School was delayed by COVID-19 and the Parafield Cluster last year, the school program has already delivered some amazing work for our patients and siblings, and we are very excited to be officially open for the start of the 2021 school year.”

More information on the South Australian Hospital Schools initiative can be found at its website.