Student safety and protection
Medication for pupils
No child should be unnecessarily excluded from school or other educational activities simply by virtue of having a medical condition.
Risk assessments and individual health care plans should be compiled prior to the child starting at the school in conjunction with parents/carers to determine the procedures schools will need to adopt.
Teachers and support staff have a responsibility to maintain the health and safety of the pupils under their control at all times. In exceptional circumstances, this might extend to administering medicine or taking other medical action.
It is entirely the decision of the school management whether to allow a member of staff to administer medication to pupils which has been prescribed by an appropriate medical practitioner i.e. GP or Paediatrician. If a school chooses not to take on this responsibility, parents must be informed. Any school that chooses to accept the responsibility must carry out the duty with reasonable care and follow the advice contained in this section.
It is the entirely the decision of each individual employee, within any school that chooses to accept the responsibility for the administration of prescribed medication. No sanction must be taken against any employee who declines to undertake this task.
No medication must be given to any pupil or child without the specific written consent of the parent/carer concerned. Even then consideration should be given to the need for the medicine to be taken during school hours - most courses of medication can be taken satisfactorily before and after school and at night. Some older children may also be deemed capable of administering their own medication.
Non-prescribed medicines i.e. paracetamol should not be given unless, in very exceptional circumstances, you have specific written consent from parents/carers.
The concern of employees administering medication in respect of personal liability is unfounded. The LA takes vicarious liability for the actions of its staff provided those actions are taken in good faith and in accordance with LA policy and practices.
In the event of the administration of medication proving to be an impediment to the LA's policy of inclusive education beyond the local management of the school then the matter should be immediately referred to the Service Director for Schools & Learning at County Hall, Trowbridge.
Few medicines need to be taken during normal school hours and in most cases can be given 'before school, after school and at night'. However, the school should not assume that this will always be the case as some prescribed medication will have times or conditions stipulated by the doctor.
Where pupils are recovering from a short term illness which requires medication (such as tablets, creams, eye drops, mixtures), any request for school staff to administer medicine by a parent/carer must be in writing and include evidence that the child needs to take medicine during school hours. Standard forms have been drawn up to assist in this process. They are Form 1 (Parental Consent form) and Form 3 (Medical Practitioner's form). If parents are unwilling or unable to provide written consent using Form 1 or schools have some reason to doubt the information provided on Form 1, seek confirmation directly from the medical practitioner using Form 3.
The medicine, together with the completed and signed consent form, should be delivered to school, where possible by a parent, and should be handed personally to the headteacher or a designated member of staff. The school policy should make it clear that in no circumstances should staff administer prescribed medication on their own initiative or without the written consent of parents/carers.
A written record should be kept of the administration of all prescribed medication to pupils, using Form 2. Such a record should be kept together with the instructions, and be checked on every occasion and completed by the designated member of staff. The record should give the date and time of administration, the name of the medicine, the dose given, the name of the child and the name of the staff member administering the medication. Form 2 should be retained on the school premises with the school's and child's records respectively.
Medicines must be stored safely in the pharmacist's original container and be clearly labelled with the contents, the child's name, and the dosage and/or other instructions. The receiving member of staff should check the accuracy of the name and date. Some medication such as liquid antibiotics or insulin may need to be kept in a refrigerator. Certain medicines will also need to be securely stored but where they can be quickly and easily accessed in the event of an emergency. These medicines must be placed in a suitable sealed container, e.g. plastic box and clearly marked "medicines". Under no circumstances should medicines be kept in first aid boxes.
Any medication which has passed its expiry date should be collected from school by parents within 5 days of the expiry date or it should be disposed of safely (e.g. by returning it to the local pharmacist). Medicines should not be disposed of in the sink or toilet.
Some pupils/children have unusual or special specific medical needs which may require treatment in an emergency. Examples would be extreme allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock) to wasp stings or food such as peanuts; epileptic seizure, which may involve invasive medical procedures such as giving an injection. Other instances where children require special personal care involving intimate or invasive treatment include assistance with catheters, or the use of equipment for children with tracheotomies.
The number of such cases will be very small and early identification and careful planning by the relevant Health Service should result in detailed discussion with a receiving school and the formulation of a carefully designed individual health care plan to meet the needs and circumstances of a particular child.
Children and young people with a health care need requiring administration of medication or procedures (not covered under the school's generic administration of medication policy) will require a Health Care Needs Risk Assessment (Form 4), and where this risk assessment identifies the need, a Health Care Plan should be developed in conjunction with the school nursing service. Responsibility for undertaking a Health Care Needs Risk Assessment lies with the school. It should be undertaken with the support of parents and the appropriate nursing representative.
The Health Care Needs Risk Assessment will identify:
- Any risk around the health care need for the child;
- Any risk around the health care need for the others, including children, staff and visitors;
- Control measures to manage the risks, i.e. resources, environmental considerations;
- Training needs - who will need to be trained, and what support is needed for the child's health care needs to be managed safely in the setting.
Some children and young people who need regular prescribed medication may not need an individual healthcare plan if it is determined, following the Health Care Needs Risk Assessment, that their care needs can be met under the existing policies and guidelines of the setting.
Schools should be prepared for such eventualities and Headteachers should therefore seek staff who are willing to undertake the necessary training to enable them to act in emergencies or administer treatment in potentially life threatening situations where there is no alternative.
Any invasive treatments should be risk assessed and appropriate precautions implemented such as having a second member of staff present while the more intimate procedures are being followed and details of the appropriate personal protection to be worn. Staff should protect the dignity of the child as far as possible, even in emergencies.
For those children who require treatment including invasive medical procedure, only those who are both willing and appropriately trained should administer such treatment. Training in invasive procedures should be conducted by qualified medical personnel. The school nurse may be able to provide this training or direct you to another appropriate trainer.
Subject to parents/carers consent all staff should be made aware of the pupil's condition and where to locate the trained staff in the case of an emergency. There should be sufficient trained staff to cover for any absences. All staff should be made aware of the importance of respecting the confidentiality of medical information.
It may be appropriate for pupils to keep items such as an Epi-pen with them in the school. Where this is not appropriate, sufficient care should be taken to handle and store medicines and medical aids for use in emergencies at the school. . Items such as preassembled syringes or Epi-pens, must be placed in a suitable additional sealed container e.g. plastic box, and clearly marked 'Emergency Medication' and with the pupil's name. Under no circumstances should medicines be kept in first aid boxes. It is essential, that wherever items are stored, the trained member of staff has immediate access to it.
- Salisbury Area: 01722 425154
- Kennet, West Wiltshire and North Wiltshire Areas: 01249 812821