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To think this schools policy on prescribed medicines is wrong?

(135 Posts)
ForrinForrinerFromForrinLand Thu 10-Oct-13 18:24:34

I just wondered weather there is a standard rule about this for all primary schools?

DN has just started school in. He suffers from severe asthma, its especially bad in winter months to the point where he has hospital stays monthly. His school initially requested that an inhaler was taken in. However after a little probing it seems they haven't been giving it to him. He's very wheezy. When asked the teacher responded by saying that he didn't request it. They expected a 4 yr old to prompt them every 4 hours for an inhaler! And now the school is saying they won't be responsible for ensuring the inhaler is regularly given to DN.

Now I'm a little shocked as I assumed schools had a duty of care. And certainly had to have plans in place for children who needed prescribed medication during the school day.

sweetestcup Thu 10-Oct-13 19:21:39

spirulina why did you put a question mark after writing "serious medical condition", I know things can be misconstrued on the internet but that looks as if you are questioning it, do you realise people can and still do die of asthma attacks, its not the case of being just a little breathless!

martinedwards Thu 10-Oct-13 19:25:13

the clue is in the teacher's job title.


not Nurse, not Doctor

when there are 30 kids in the room, yes they'll react to a need, but they are not trained or paid to treat illnesses, which, if they give the child two puffs instead of 3, you'll drag their over worked butts into court.

MrsDeVere Thu 10-Oct-13 19:31:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Littlespeckledowl Thu 10-Oct-13 19:31:38

It's not about teacher's being too busy, or not caring. As a general rule, staff are not allowed to administer medications. Usually, asthmatic children administer their own medications, with staff supervising younger children as necessary. At our school, if a child was, for example, taking a course of antibiotics, a parent would need to come in to administer these if necessary. A serious, chronic condition requiring daily medication requires special consent forms signing and a care plan putting in place. You need to meet with the school and discuss the requirements so they understand exactly what's jnvolved.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Thu 10-Oct-13 19:35:51

Piglet I was very unamused and still haven't got to the bottom of it due to having four children who are all, to one degree or another, ill, especially as I had flagged up his cold and the fact it exacerbated his breathing problems. Fortunately, he is an "as and when" user, so not as severe as others, but he isn't a child who would ask unnecessarily and it's jolly hard to instill confidence in their actions when something like that happens and I reminded a different TA the following morning.

Noggie Thu 10-Oct-13 19:36:01

Teachers are not allowed to administer medication other than in an emergency so every school should have a member of staff (probably non teaching) to help the child administer their own medicine. It is not ideal but class room teachers cannot be responsible for medication. Schools need nurses!

IHateWinter Thu 10-Oct-13 19:38:00

YANBU. Have to say I would ensure DS has one concealed in his bag or pocket somewhere. I always carried one in school myself. Think what happens if you're in the playground and you have a sudden severe attack. Hardly being able to speak, you have to alert a teacher or dinner lady. They then have to go into the office where the inhaler is kept, retrieve it, and bring it to you. By then you could need an ambulance.

I wouldn't risk it. By all means give one into the school and tell DS to take it. But let him carry one in his pocket just in case.

Screw the rules. Asthma is serious. People often treat it flippantly and it annoys the hell out of me.

ForrinForrinerFromForrinLand Thu 10-Oct-13 19:38:54

I'm happy to be told I am completely and utterly unreasonable.

I say this again. I would not expect a FOUR YEAR OLD to be responsible for alerting a teacher at FOUR HOUR intervals that he needs his inhaler.

Yes teachers are busy. Yes there are other children's needs to consider. Yes I agree with other posters. If it was my child I would make damn sure that those working closest with my child was made fully aware of his needs BEFORE he started school. But it is what it is. It's happened.

Thanks to the posters who have shared their experiences. It's been an eye opener for sure.

mrsjay Thu 10-Oct-13 19:40:37

that is strange and bloody dangerous they dont give him it when dd was in primary they were great the infant years all the inhalored (not a word) went to the school office and the school nurse or an SLA gave it out I hope you can get to the bottom of it and your son gets his medicine when he is supposed too

Sirzy Thu 10-Oct-13 19:41:32

But the simple way for him to do it is to remember that when he has his dinner he needs his inhaler. That isn't a lot to ask a 4 year old to remember surely? And then come up with a system by working WITH the school to ensure that happens.

I'm not sure why everyone seems to be over complicating that? When everyone is lining up you DN goes to the teacher has his inhaler and then carries on his day! simple.

Finola1step Thu 10-Oct-13 19:42:34

Hi Forrin. I am an Assistant Head of a primary school. Your son's school is failing in its duty of care to your son. This may well stem from a confusion over his exact requirements rather than anything untoward. Your next step is to write everything down on paper (if you have not done so already). Detail what needs to be done and when. It is perfectly reasonable for a qualified first aider to administer or oversee a child administering their own pump. Copy of letter to class teacher, Senco and Head.

At my school we have a whole troop of children who after their lunch, go straight to the office to have their pump. The younger ones in Reception and Year 1 are reminded by an adult. It doesn't take long for the children to get the hang of such a system.

You could request a meeting with the school's Senco and the school nurse attached to the school to draw up a care plan. Your son is entitled to his medication during school time. Do not let them fob you off.

ForrinForrinerFromForrinLand Thu 10-Oct-13 19:44:29

FFS martin do you have any experience of a seriously sick child.

I get really pissed of with stupid comments like yours.

Teachers are not just teachers. There are lots of aspects of the job that doesn't fall under "teaching" that is expected of them. And frankly if they're not prepared to show a little compassion they're in the wrong job!

ForrinForrinerFromForrinLand Thu 10-Oct-13 19:45:53

Thanks Finola

MidniteScribbler Thu 10-Oct-13 19:46:05

I would not expect a FOUR YEAR OLD to be responsible for alerting a teacher at FOUR HOUR intervals that he needs his inhaler.

But you can't expect a teacher to adhere to four hourly intervals. They don't know when the dose was given in the morning before school. 6am? 8am? What if the parent forgot that morning? When does that interval start? The prescription needs to state exactly what time the medication needs to be given, and the parent should try and organise it so that it falls at a time that works within the class setting if possible (eg not right in the middle of a lesson, but at the start or end of a break) to make it easier for classroom management.

NellieTheEllie Thu 10-Oct-13 19:47:43

A school is under no legal obligation to administer medication. Right or wrong, that is the case. Some schools take this literally and refuse to administer ANY medication (including prescribed antibiotics etc), some will administer prescribed medication only and some will give anything you ask them to!
This is often a deal breaker when parents are choosing the school for their child with chronic illness. As stated above, it is something they should have discussed prior to the child starting school.
If it is a chronic condition (diabetes, asthma, anaphylaxis etc) then schools often accept this (anti discrimination and all that) but a care plan will need to be put in place with input from their medical team.
I'm guessing if the childs asthma is that bad and NEEDS regular daily medication, then this needs to be discussed with the parents, school and the doctors, and a care plan put in place.
The care plan will outline the problem, the needs of the child and how the school will meet these needs (eg, by giving meds every 4hrs) This will then be adhered to by all relevant staff, and will be a point of reference for anyone else. It will also be sent to the county council insurance dept, because unfortunately that's why medication in schools is such a nightmare - because people now complain and sue.

colleysmill Thu 10-Oct-13 19:50:05

I work with children with a very specific medical condition which requires medication at school.

Usually one of the team (nurse or physio usually) will liaise with school and parents, organise training in the condition and school write a school health plan with input from parents and the professionals covering medication, any specific requirements and what to do and who to call in an emergency.

In primary schools usually a ta is assigned to ensure this happens with others aware in case that ta is away for any reason. Bit different in secondary school where we try and encourage the children to administer their own meds but we still encourage school to have a plan in place so there can be no confusion to what meds they are carrying and why.

Ultimately the aim is to make life as regular as possible for the children making sure they are in school and the meds are in place to prevent them becoming ill which means their attendance decreases.

I think in the op case the first step is to approach school and sit down and talk about what is needed when and why. School can't help if they don't know what is needed and usually they are very open to input if there is a medical need.

mikkii Thu 10-Oct-13 19:54:20

In the summer term DS came off his bike and the grazes got infected.

I wrote explaining he would not be at school until his antibiotics had finished as he was on doses 4 times daily which could not work around school. I asked for his homework to be sent via DD so he didn't get behind.

The school office called to say that since he was not ill they would administer the medication (could have something to do with the expected OFSTED?)

morethanpotatoprints Thu 10-Oct-13 19:55:30

My friend was told the school was under no obligation to treat her dd who has diabetes. So she goes home for lunch, her mum checks insulin levels and administers any medicine as required. The school have been given info of what to do in an emergency and friend is happy for school not to be involved. She says they aren't doctors or nurses and wouldn't trust a teacher to know what they were doing.

My dds old school wouldn't even give plasters in case of allergic reaction

pigletmania Thu 10-Oct-13 19:56:49

Bring back the school nurse, or welfare Officer, ack in the day.

Tabby1963 Thu 10-Oct-13 19:57:55

OP, if you have a doctor's prescription which states that the inhaler has to be used every four hours, then the school has to adhere to that prescription. It is exactly the same as if it was prescribed medicine or eye drops etc.

At my school we have support staff who have completed first aid training who administer all medication for pupils, at the time they require it.

I haven't heard of inhalers being used every 4 hours, usually it is as required and the child will alert a member of staff to ask for access to their inhaler (if they are in the playground they will be escorted inside immediately and supervised while taking the correct dosage then class teacher informed). However, if your GP has requested this, and it is on his prescription, then it should be adhered to.

Hope you can sort it out pronto.

ForrinForrinerFromForrinLand Thu 10-Oct-13 19:58:57

Children going home for lunch only works if one parent is a SAHP.

Anyway, thanks for all the input.

Guineapigfriend Thu 10-Oct-13 20:01:14

I would expect the school to take on the responsibility. They should be able to absorb a child's additional needs (i think its 16 hours pw) and ensure he takes his meds.

martinedwards Thu 10-Oct-13 20:02:44

forrinforin oh sod it you know who you are...

yes, as a parent of 4, 20 year teacher (secondary) and 1st aider I have lots of experience of kids with illnesses.

also lots of experience of parents who expect the school to do EVERYTHING and accept no responsibility whatsoever.

It is NOT the teacher's job to administer medication.

in my last school we had a former nurse who was a classroom assistant who made sure that all the kids who had medication got them.

as a classroom teacher, if I saw a kid who was off colour I took notice and helped if I could, but there was no way on earth I'm going to crack open the medicine cabinet.

having ended up in a Police interview room for standing between two 11 year olds who wanted to fight (naturally no case to answer) the idea of becoming some sort of dispensing chemist with no extra training, insurance or pay?

no thanks

BetsyBell Thu 10-Oct-13 20:03:21

I suspect this is a miscommunication issue (I hope) - lots of kids have inhalers at school but not many of them need to have them administered regularly. Please explain to the teacher than he does need it and isn't able to remind them.

Usually the TA would be responsible for actual administering so see if you can arrange to talk to teacher and TA together to show them what's needed.

stillstanding29 Thu 10-Oct-13 20:11:04

Hi Forrin. I thought that was a really helpful message from Finola. Your DN should be being supported. He should have a care plan. If you are struggling with school I have a book called - a parents guide to the equality act and their children's education by Geraldine Hills - which I have found really useful when arguing with schools.

School should make reasonable adjustments to allow your DN To attend school safely or they could be discriminating against him. I found the every child matters or counts (I can't remember) government literature which is online very useful to back up my argument too.

Keep talking to school and hopefully they'll see sense.

Children with medical needs are entitled to an education and school should make reasonable adjustments to enable your DN to attend school safely and without it compromising his/her health.

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