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Medicines in School

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From time to time your child may be unwell and require medicine. Where possible, we would advise you to give your child the medication at home and in most cases this can be done without any need for it to happen in school.

If this is not possible, you must come in to school and hand the medication to the school office. At this point someone will ask you key questions about when and how to administer the medication as well as asking you to sign something to give your consent. 

Further advice is available below. 

General Information

Parents are generally encouraged to schedule their child’s medication so that they don’t need a dose during the school day. For example, a child who is on antibiotics to be taken three times a day can usually take all three doses outside school hours.

If, however, your child does need medication during school hours, the following guidelines must be followed.

1. Only prescription medication should be brought into schools. This includes antibiotics, asthma inhalers, AAIs , insulin syringes and so on.

2. Medications must be brought into schools in their original container, as dispensed by a pharmacist, labelled with your child’s name. They must include instructions for administration, dosage and storage, as well as possible side effects. In some cases, schools will accept written instructions from a parent, but often, they will only administer medications if they come with the original patient information leaflet or written instructions from a doctor or pharmacist.

The exception to this is insulin, which can be brought into school inside an insulin injector pen or pump, rather than its original packaging.

3. You must provide written consent for your child to be given the medication. Most schools will have a form that you fill in. You will need to complete this form every time your child brings a new type of medication to school; it’s also likely to be reviewed annually.

4. All medications must be in date.

5. The smallest possible amount of medication should be brought into school. The exception to this is liquid medication, which can only be accurately and safely dispensed from the original container.

6. Medication should be kept in a secure place such as a locked cabinet or a sealed box in a fridge, according to storage instructions. Children must know where their medication is, and who to ask when they need it. However, medications that children may need to access quickly in an emergency should not be locked away. This includes asthma reliever inhalers and AAIs. These storage requirements apply not just on school premises, but also on trips and residential visits.

7. If a sharps box is required for the disposal of injectors, parents should obtain it on prescription and pass it on to the school.

8. You must collect any leftover medication that your child no longer needs, or medicines that have passed their expiry date, from the school. This should be done routinely at the end of every term.

9. Best practice is for schools to keep a record of children’s medication, including the date and time of each dose, how much was taken, and whether there were any side effects. This is mandatory for children in Nursery and Reception. 

(Taken from www.theschoolrun.com) 

Emergency Medication

Since 2014, schools have been allowed to keep spare asthma reliever inhalers for use in an emergency. This recognises the fact that an asthma attack can be life-threatening, and that 86 per cent of children have been left without an inhaler after their own was lost, forgotten, broken or empty. It’s up to schools to decide whether they keep a spare inhaler, so it’s still important that your child has their own inhaler at school.

From October 2017, schools will also be allowed to keep a spare adrenaline auto-injector, or EpiPen, on the premises in case of a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Again, this is not compulsory, nor a substitute for sending your child’s own EpiPen to school, but is an extra layer of protection in case of emergency.

Non Prescriptive Medication

Official advice states that non-prescription medicines (such as Calpol, throat lozenges and over-the-counter hayfever medications) should not be brought into school or administered by school staff. This is partly to protect staff from accusations of maladministration, and partly because children who are unwell enough to need these medications during school hours are generally not well enough for school.

Schools may, however, agree to give non-prescription medicines at their discretion if they have specific written permission from parents.

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