Non-prescribed medicines not administer-able on school residential

(35 Posts)
NikkiH Thu 14-Feb-13 18:10:38

DS2 (year 6) is going on a five day school residential next half term. We have been informed of a change in LEA policy which means that school staff are no longer able to administer medicines which haven't been prescribed by a doctor.

Whereas before school has been able to take Calpol (or similar pain relieving medicine) and administer it with parents' permission or parents have been able to supply Calpol / nurofen etc with dosage written down for staff to administer as needed, this is no longer permitted.

DS2 is hale and hearty. I cannot remember the last time he needed / was given paracetamol. Previously for school residentials I have put several doses of Calpol in an envelope and handed it over to school staff 'just in case' and it has always been returned unopened.

What would you do? I really don't want to have to ask my GP for prescribed painkiller 'just in case' it is needed but I hate the thought of DS potentially in pain or poorly with no access to medicine.

nooka Sun 17-Feb-13 02:22:43

I try to always carry a bottle of ibuprofen in case I have a headache or period pain, and when my dd goes on a guide camp or similar we do the same for her (she gets migraines so it's very important she takes painkillers as soon as possible). She's not got a prescription from the doctor (we've taken her to see a doctor for the migraines but never even thought about it for the period pains) but I would be very unhappy if we had to send her on a trip and she didn't have quick access to painkillers if she needed them. I trust that she only takes medicine when she needs it, but I guess another kid could always get hold of them and I can understand that concern. However if we were told that she would not be able to have access to painkillers then she wouldn't be able to go on the trip which seems very unfair.

On the other hand we've never sent ds anywhere with any medicines as he doesn't have any regular need for them.

BackforGood Sun 17-Feb-13 01:32:06

Like Insanity , my dd's school have asked parents to sign beforehand to give permission for the staff to administer standard dose of calpol if they consider it is needed. That way, nobody's residential experience is ruined by headache, nor do they have to be collected by parents when a small dose of paracetamol would have cleared it up, nor are children carrying medicine with them. Staff are aware (and obviously it's all recorded and witnessed) of what medicine any child has had.

jalapeno Sat 16-Feb-13 17:05:49

This is interesting as DS needs the occasional dose of piriton (he is allergic to various dietary things we know about but also sometimes he just seems to be itchy for no reason, perhaps animal dander or dust) and school won't give it but I don't work far away so not a problem. I hadn't thought of a redidential.

The policy at school is not whether it is OTC or not, they won't give piriton AT ALL, prescribed or otherwise. Epipen and asthma inhaler ok (the office often lose these which is just as worrying, I have been called out for a lost asthma inhaler before- good job he wasn't having a fatal asthma attack but I hope to god in that case they would call an ambulance) and epipens they will hold.

It seems crazy to me that they will not give a child with an allergic reaction piriton but they will inject adrenalin...there is a spectrum of reaction between hives/itching (which needs to be treated as a child can really suffer and do a fair bit of damage clawing at their skin) and anaphylaxis hmm

Sending calpol just in case is rather OTT but there are other medications that are essential as a standby.

Marlinspike England Sat 16-Feb-13 16:08:06

I am sure that secondary schools cannot dose with any OTC remedies without parental permission - maybe there's a "catch-all" permission signed at the start of each school year covering such medication? What if the child were allergic?

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 16-Feb-13 16:01:17

I think a chemist can prescribe basic meds for you? Call a large chemist and ask, i am sure I was able t get basic kids meds n prscription from one of our local chemists, to save going to the docs.

redskyatnight Sat 16-Feb-13 13:05:17

This is interesting. I agree with others that sending painkiller "just in case" does seem a bit OTT.

However, DS will be going on a school residential this year. He has hayfever. We routinely buy OTC stuff. So if this rule applies here, does this mean we have to waste the doctor's time by going in and asking for it to be prescribed?

PastSellByDate Sat 16-Feb-13 01:14:59

Hi NikkiH

I was very worried when DD1 went on her first residential - more about who was leading the trip and whether they had proper medical training (as they were taking the children on several activities without staff from the adventure centre). I finally mustered up the courage to contact our council which has an outdoor activities department and asked what is required - armed with that information I was able to directly ask the school questions about first aid provision.

By law, schools have to have a designated first aider with adequate training and a medical kit for any field trip/ excursion off campus they lead - so I suggest that if this information is not explicitly stated for the residential that you request that the school inform you who the designated first aider is, whether they have appropriate training and if a full risk assessment has been made (which again by law they would need to submit to the LEA if a state school).

If all that is in order than yes, although it is potentially likely that your DS may fall ill whilst away and need a CalPol or similar, there will be someone notionally in charge of making that call.

If you are really concerned - there is nothing preventing you asking if the school will be bringing paracetemol to deal with twisted ankles/ sprains, mild fevers, etc... during the residential (certainly the TA that attended did bring along CalPol which was given to one child who ended up with flu whilst out there - and we had all filled in allergy forms for the trip).

My DD1 & her classmates were only 8 when they went away for a long weekend residential and it was very weird - it was the first time she'd ever been away from home. However, she had a fabulous time, ate like a horse, and has wonderful memories of all the really adventurous things they got up to (rope walks, wall climbing, singing (well howling probably) around camp fires & roasting marshmallows, canoeing, leaf fights, etc...). So, in the end, although I wasn't ready, the school were right - it is a good experience for the kids, it gets them out of the city (were an inner-city school) and it lets them be kids.

Startail Fri 15-Feb-13 22:50:10

Secondary have never asked permission, Suddenly from being 11 and in Y6 and 11 and in Y7 all the rules seem to change.

trinity0097 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:28:44

Our school nurse frequently dispenses calpol, cough medicines etc to children, parents have either given permission for it to be given as required, or for parents to be contacted via phone first. This is a prep school though, so we tend to use more common sense! All first aid kits going out on trips have calpol and piriton in.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 15-Feb-13 09:55:33

I work in a care based setting with trained nurses and we are not allowed to give non-prescribed medications to children. All medications that we give have to be in the original packaging with a prescription label on the box (and the bottle/inhaler) so I don't think the school are doing anything out of the ordinary.

If we need to give paracetamol we hold our own stock which we get the parent/carer to consent to us giving 'if required' on each stay. That way we know exactly what is in the medication we are giving. Although it is rare there are cases of children being given medications by parents/carers that are not what they say on the label with the intention of causing harm and as a giver of medication I want to know exactly what I am giving because if it is harmful stuff it is my neck on the line.

insanityscratching Fri 15-Feb-13 09:40:00

On dd's residential the HT took calpol with him. We all signed to say that we agreed to our child receiving the minimum dose if needed but were assured that we would be contacted again by phone before it was given. I would rather that than parents stashing medicine in their child's suitcase.

meditrina Fri 15-Feb-13 07:34:03

Schools rarely give non-prescribed drugs.

But given how it would wreck both NHS drugs bill and availability of doctor's appointments, most schools/LAs have more sensible guidelines. For example, never, ever given for raised temperature, headache that has come on that day or any symptom which looks like the child has an infection. But OK for child on first couple of days back with a newly plastered limb.

Sleepy making antihistamines are generally a no-no, but I had the non-drowsy hay fever preventatives OK'ed for a school trip last year.

The guidelines are just that, guidelines. If the school chooses to implement them absolutely (or has an LA which is that strict), the there isn't much you can do about it. But the possibility of a more pragmatic approach exists. So it is always worth making your case if you see there is need.

But I doubt "just in case" will cut it.

mrz Fri 15-Feb-13 07:11:29

catkind they can't give Calpol/paracetamol....whether sent by a parent of in their first aid kit and no they may well not put a plaster on a graze ...

catkind Thu 14-Feb-13 22:20:40

Why should kids have to tough out a headache? I wouldn't.
Have you clarified with them whether they have something like paracetamol in their first aid kit? Can understand them not wanting to routinely give something OTC you've given them, but surely they have to have provision for minor unexpected incidents. They'd put a plaster on a graze, right? Is that so different to a paracetamol for a headache?

FannyBazaar Thu 14-Feb-13 22:18:33

When I was a child AFAIK no one ever took any medicines with them 'just in case'. I never take any medicine with me on a holiday for me and DS unless it is actually needed when we set off.

Has calpol been around for ever or is it just a new thing to make us think we should have it around at all time?

GingerbreadGretel Thu 14-Feb-13 22:10:25

Wow. My son has been on school residentials and several cub camps. It never occurred to me to send pain relief.

If my daughter had very painful periods, then I would visit the GP and get something prescribed. There are probably better alternatives than Calpol anyway. My GP used to prescribe mefenamic acid to me when I was a teen.

Otherwise, I think most kids should just tough it out - if it not something you can tough out, then they'll probably need a GP anyway.

NikkiH Thu 14-Feb-13 21:27:54

I'm not thinking of putting it in his bag for the reasons others have listed here as well as other reasons. Other parents are though.

Common sense tells me that the school wouldn't take 60 kids to an isolated rural venue without contingency plans in place but I don't think I'd be a decent mum without wanting some kind of reassurance. Think I'll be asking school what they would do if a child was running a temperature or in pain. Parents will be a good three hour drive away so it's not as if we can be there quickly.

mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 20:33:40

They don't in primary schools Startail

Startail Thu 14-Feb-13 20:23:30

Paracetamol auto correct gives me a head ache.

It's doubly barmy as the firstaider at secondary school doles out paracetamol without batting an eye lid.

Do DCs really become a different species in the summer holidays between Y6 and Y7?

Startail Thu 14-Feb-13 20:20:38

It's quite barmy because it means any Y6 girl who's started her periods or any child who's prone to headaches just stashes some pare ethanol in there bag and doesn't tell the staff.

Which is surely way more dangerous.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 20:16:49

Two doses could have a big impact on a young child. You must not do that, it is so dangerous to give children unsupervised access to medicine.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 20:13:30

NikkiH - that would be a very irresponsible and dangerous thing to do. Really? Even though younhave no idea if any of the other children are alleric to calpol or similar? You would risk that just in case your child has a cold? You need a massive think, your child is at NO risk from not having calpol but you would willingly put other children at risk.

Sorry if I seem angry but what you suggest is not safe.

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Thu 14-Feb-13 20:07:40

I very much doubt a GP would prescribe calpol, unless it was a private prescription. Plus if it just said "as needed" on it, would the prescription be any use anyway?

NikkiH Thu 14-Feb-13 20:03:49

thanks for your opinions - all appreciated even if they do suggest I'm over reacting. I'm not the only parent who routinely sent pain relief and there's a few of us debating what to do. Some are thinking of putting a dose or two in their children's bags with instructions only to use it if they need it. But I don't like this idea either.

Sirzy Thu 14-Feb-13 18:56:59

Needing medication to be prescribed is normal and sensible.

You could go on forever with the "just in case" things he may need.

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