Dealing with Medicines

Safety Management

54. Some medicines may be harmful to anyone for whom they are not prescribed.  Where a school agrees to administer this type of medicine the employer has a duty to ensure that the risks to the health of others are properly controlled.  This duty derives from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 (COSHH).

Storing Medication

55. Schools should not store large volumes of medication.  The Head Teacher should make suitable arrangements with the parents for the delivery and disposal of medications. (See Form Med 1)

56. When the school stores medicines staff should ensure that the supplied container is labelled with the name of the pupil, the name and dose of the drug and the frequency of administration.  Where a pupil needs two or more prescribed medicines, each should be in a separate container.  Non health care staff should never transfer medicines from their original containers.  The Head Teacher is responsible for making sure that medicines are stored safely.  Pupils should know where their own medication is stored and who holds the key.  A few medicines, such as asthma inhalers, must be readily available to pupils and must not be locked away.  Many schools allow pupils to carry their own inhalers.  Other medicines should generally be kept in a secure place not accessible to pupils.

57. If the school locks away medication that a pupil might need in an emergency, all staff should know where to obtain keys to the medical cabinet.

58. Some medicines need to be refrigerated.  Medicines can be kept in a refrigerator containing food but should be in an airtight container and clearly labelled.  The school should restrict access to a refrigerator holding medicines.

59. Local and community services pharmacists may give advice to schools about storing medicines.

Access to Medication

60. Pupils must have access to their medicine when required.  The school may want to make special access arrangements for emergency medication that it keeps.  However, it is also important to make sure that medicines are only accessible to those for whom they are prescribed.  This should be considered as part of the school’s policy about pupils carrying their own medication.

Disposal of Medicines

61. School staff should not dispose of medicines.  Parents should collect medicines held at school at the end of each term.  Parents are responsible for disposal of date-expired medicines.

Hygiene / Infection Control

62. All staff should be familiar with normal precautions for avoiding infection and must follow basic hygiene procedures.  Staff should have access to protective disposable gloves and take care when dealing with spillages of blood or other body fluids and disposing of dressings or equipment.  Further guidance is available in the Department for Education and Employment publication HIV and Aids: A guide for the Education Service.  (Admin Handbook – Health and Safety Section HS/011).

63. All staff should know how to call the emergency services.  All staff should also know who is responsible for carrying out emergency procedures in the event of need.  Guidance on calling an ambulance is provided on (Form Med 6).  A pupil taken to hospital by ambulance should be accompanied by a member of staff who should remain until the pupil’s parent arrives.

64. Staff should not take pupils to hospital in their own car unless they are covered by public liability insurance.  The member of staff should also be accompanied by another adult, wherever possible.  (Reference Admin Handbook – School Section SS/007)

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