Most pupils will at some time have a medical condition that may affect their participation in school activities and for many this will be short-term. Other pupils have medical conditions that, if not properly managed, could limit their access to education. Most children with medical needs are able to attend school regularly and, with some support from the school, can take part in most normal activities. Crampton Primary School is committed to ensuring that children with medical needs have the same right of access as other children. There is no legal duty that requires schools and staff to administer medication, this is a voluntary role. The ‘duty of care’ extends to administering medication in exceptional circumstances, and therefore it is for schools to decide their local policy for the administration of medication.
Parents / Guardians should, wherever possible, administer or supervise the self-administration of medication to their children. This may be by spacing the doses so that they are not required within school hours, or by the parent / guardian coming into school at lunch time to administer the medication. However, this might not be practical and in such cases parents / guardians may make a request for medication to be administered to the child at school. If medication needs to be administered during school time, then the parent / guardian must bring it to the school office and complete the Administration of medication form. Medication must not be given to the class teacher, or brought into school by the child themselves. If medication is for a short-term condition, any remaining medication must be collected from the school office by a parent / guardian at the end of the school day. For long-term conditions, it is the responsibility of the parent / guardian to ensure they provide the school with regular replacement medication for their child as soon as it runs out or becomes out of date.
NB: Current Health Department Guidance states that children who may experience Anaphylactic shock should have TWO Adrenaline Auto Injectors (Epi-pens) in school. These should be in addition to Epi-pens that have the children have at home. (Guidance on the use of Adrenaline Auto Injectors in schools, September 2017.
Prescription medicines should be administered at home wherever possible, for example medicines that need to be taken 3 times a day can usually be taken before school, after school and at bed time. Parents are encouraged to ask the GP whether this is possible. Prescription medicines will only be administered by the school where it would be detrimental to a child’s health if it were not done. Medicines should always be provided in the original container as dispensed by a pharmacist and include the prescriber’s instructions for administration. The exception to this is insulin which must still be in date, but will generally be available to school inside an insulin pen or a pump, rather than in its original container. Schools should never accept medicines that have been taken out of the container nor make changes to dosages on parental instruction.
In all cases it is necessary to check:
• Name of child
• Name of medicine
• Written instructions provided by prescriber
• Expiry date
An Administration of Medicine Permission form must be completed and signed by the parent / guardian. No medication will be given without the parent / guardians written consent. Prescribed medication, other than emergency medication, will be kept at main reception, in the cupboard or the medical fridge. All emergency medicines should be quickly available. In certain circumstances where delay may be detrimental to the health of a child, medication may be kept in the child’s classroom and be readily available. Additional medication e.g. second Epi-pen will be kept at main reception and clearly labelled with the child’s name.
It is important for the school to have sufficient information regarding the medical condition of any pupil with long term medical needs. It is the parent / guardians responsibility to provide a health care plan for such pupils, involving the relevant health professionals (e.g. GP, hospital, School Nurse). Appropriate training will be arranged for the administration of any specialist medication (e.g. adrenaline via an Epi-pen, Buccal midazolam, insulin etc.) Staff should not administer such medicines until they have been trained to do so.
Controlled drugs, such as Ritalin, are controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act. Therefore, it is imperative that controlled drugs are strictly managed between the school and parents. Ideally controlled drugs are only brought in on a daily basis by parents, but certainly no more than a week’s supply and the amount of medication handed over to the school should always be recorded. Controlled drugs should be stored in a locked non-portable container, such as a safe, and only specific named staff allowed access to it. Each time the drug is administered it must be recorded, including if the child refused to take it. If pupils refuse to take medication, school staff will not force them to do so. The school will inform the child’s parents as a matter of urgency. If necessary, the school will call the emergency services. The person administering the controlled drug should monitor that the drug has been taken. Passing a controlled drug to another child is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act. As with all medicines any unused medication should be recorded as being returned back to the parent when no longer required. If this is not possible it should be returned to the dispensing pharmacist. It should not be thrown away.
Where possible, the school will avoid administering non-prescription medicine. However, we may do so, if requested by the parent, if it will facilitate the child attending school and continuing their learning. This will usually be for a short period only, perhaps to apply a specific lotion or the administration of paracetamol for toothache or other pain. However, such medicines will only be administered in school where it would be detrimental to a child’s health if it were not administered during the day. A child under 16 should never be given aspirin-containing medicine, unless prescribed by a doctor. If non-prescription medication is to be administered, then the parent/carer must complete an Administration of Medicine Consent form and the same procedure will be followed as for prescription medication. The medicine must be provided in its original container, with dosage information on it. The parent’s instructions will be checked against the dosage information, and this will not be exceeded.
Medicines will only be administered by members of staff who have been first-aid trained and are aware of the safe administration of medicines. This will usually be the teaching assistant, but in their absence another appropriately trained member of staff may carry it out. Appropriate training will be arranged for the administration of any specialist medication (e.g. adrenaline via an Epi-pen, Buccal midazolam, insulin etc.) Staff should not administer such medicines until they have been trained to do so. A list of all staff trained in administration of medicines will be maintained by the Senior First Aider. The Senior First Aider will maintain a record of staff trained in specialist medication for children with Health Care Plans. When a member of staff administers medicine, they will check the child’s Administration of Medication Permission and Record form against the medication, to ensure that the dose and timing are correct. They will then administer the medicine as required, and record this on the form.
In line with “Guidance on the use of emergency salbutamol inhalers in schools” March 2015 and “Guidance on the use of adrenaline auto injectors in schools, Sept 2017, the school will keep emergency reliever (blue) inhalers and Adrenaline Auto Injectors for the emergency use of children whose own inhaler / auto injector is not available for any reason. They will be stored at main reception, along with appropriate spacers.
It is important that as children get older they should be encouraged to take responsibility and manage their own medication. This should be clearly set out in the child’s health care plan in agreement with the parents / guardians, bearing in mind the safety of other pupils. Staff should be aware of the need for asthmatics to carry medication with them (or for staff to take appropriate action). Children should know where their medicines are stored. On educational visits / residential trips etc., if there is a risk of loss of essential medication (e.g. Epi-pen, Asthma pump etc.), a member of staff should take responsibility for the medication and ensure that it is readily available to the child if required.
If a child refuses to take medication staff should not force them to do so, but note this in the records and inform parents of the refusal. If the refusal leads to a medical emergency, the school will call the emergency services and inform the parents.
It is good practice for schools to encourage pupils with medical needs to participate in offsite visits. All staff supervising visits should be aware of any medical needs and relevant emergency procedures. Where necessary, individual risk assessments will be completed. A member of staff who is trained to administer any specific medication will accompany the pupil and ensure that the appropriate medication is taken on the visit. Inhalers must be taken for all children who suffer from asthma, Adrenaline Auto Injectors for those who may suffer anaphylactic shock.
Children should be encouraged to look after and manage their own medicines where practicable, but where there is risk of essential medication (Epi-pen, Asthma Pump etc.) being lost, a staff member should take control of the medication. Swift access to the medication must be ensured at all times.
Travel Sickness - Tablets can be given with written consent from a parent but the child’s name, dosage, time of dose and any possible side effects (the child must have had the travel sickness preventative at home before the trip in case of side effects) should be clearly marked on the container, which must be the original packaging. Parents will need to complete an Administration of Medication Permission and Record form.
Residential visits – All medicines which a child needs to take should be handed to the teacher in charge of the visit. The parents will sign a consent form for any medicines which they need to take during the visit, plus consent of emergency treatment to be administered.
A Senior First Aider will check all medicines kept in school each term to ensure that they have not exceeded their expiry date. Parents/guardians will be notified of any that need to be replaced. Parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring that date-expired medicines are returned to a pharmacy for safe disposal. If parents do not collect all medicines, they should be taken to a local pharmacy for safe disposal. Sharps boxes should always be used for the disposal of needles.
If any child requires regular injections (e.g. Insulin), they will have their own sharps box which can be taken offsite with them on trips etc. The parents will be notified when the box is almost full so that they can bring in a new box and take the full box for disposal.
Date: September 2022:
Date of next review: September 2023