Medical Procedures in Schools, Colleges and Nurseries

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2010 Local Government Service Group Conference
18 February 2010

Conference notes that education has become more inclusive with increasing numbers of children and young people attending mainstream schools, colleges and nurseries and extended school services. UNISON supports inclusive education but believes, for the safety and well being of children and staff, this must be adequately resourced, planned and supported.

Conference further notes that UNISON members in schools, colleges and nurseries are being expected to deal with a wide and expanding range of medical procedures, including peg feeding, clearing tracheotomy tubes and administering a range of medicines, often without the proper training, support or safeguards in place.

Many UNISON members report being bullied or pressurized into taking on these additional responsibilities and are worried about the risks to the children and themselves. It is UNISON policy that staff should not be forced into taking on these additional responsibilities but some staff have agreed or volunteered for this. Conference believes this should not be happening until there are clear and unequivocal guidelines that take account of the rights of children and staff and ensure issues around health and safety, risks, training, medical support educational and childcare settings and payment for staff.

Conference therefore calls on the SGE to:

1)Raise this issue as a matter of urgency with the school and college employers through the NJC, SJC, FE and 6th Form and School Sector Committees, and with the respective governments across the UK with the aim of:

a)Developing clear national protocols on a range of medical procedures in schools, colleges and nurseries that ensure children and young people are safe and staff are aware of the limits of their responsibilities

b)Negotiating joint guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities which would include advice on risk assessments, staff training and support and any pay and grading issues arising from this.

2)Liaise with colleagues across UNISON in health, social care and the voluntary sector to ensure there is a clear and consistent policy across the union.

3)Work with children’s and health campaign groups and voluntary organisations in developing ongoing policy and campaigns on this issue.

4)Produce clear and ongoing advice for branches and members and ensure this issue is highlighted in the ongoing UNISON campaigns to organise in schools and colleges.