THE dilemma experienced by nine-year-old Southend boy Josh Tippett forms a poignant story.

Brain-damaged at birth, Josh requires constant care, including regular clearance of his air passages.

Josh and his family are keen he should be able to attend Kingsdown School, in Southend, and live as normal a life as possible, mixing with children his own age. But, after consideration, the health authority has declined to fund a specialist nurse to attend Josh at school.

Members of the clinical commission group will have had to put heads before hearts. It is responsible for the allocation of limited public funds, and faces enormous pressures elsewhere on the available cash. The expense of paying for a nurse to attend Josh would be very high. Yet the consequences for Josh are so sad, everyone involved in this decision should be seeking a way round the impasse.

Apart from the financial considerations, red tape is also keeping Josh out of school. The school has its own nurses, who are on hand to do the job. They lack the specialist training to care for Josh’s particular needs, and are not insured to treat him.

But why not send at least one of them on a training course?

A more positive and proactive approach, one that looked for ways to fulfil Josh’s needs rather than deny them, could surely find a way forward.