UNISON welcomes new guidance on school medicines

UNISON is pleased that the Department for Education has listened to concerns from the union and other campaigners, by proposing an amendment to introduce statutory guidance on pupil health needs and the administration of medicine.
UNISON, which represents 247,000 school support staff, has been campaigning for guidance to address current inconsistencies in the provision of health support and the administration of medicines, which leaves both pupils and the support staff that provide these services vulnerable.
A recent joint survey carried out by UNISON and the Royal College of Nursing showed that the majority of staff who support the health needs of pupils, and those who administer medicines, did not receive regular training. Almost a fifth revealed they felt forced into doing it.
Jon Richards, UNISON National Secretary for Education and Children’s Services said:  

“School support staff have been forced into a difficult position. They want to do the best for their pupils, however too many untrained staff are being asked to administer medicines with little or no training.  We hear far too many stories of near misses where the lack of a care plan and no training has almost led to tragic consequences.

“Parents, governors, teachers and head teachers know that schools would crumble without the hard work and dedication of school support staff, and these staff must have the backing of robust guidance when it comes to the health and wellbeing of students.
“UNISON has been working with the Royal College of Nursing to produce our own statement on best practice. We ask that the principles in our statement, produced by the professional unions representing staff, will be encompassed in the final statutory guidance.”  
Notes to Editors:
1. UNISON was part of a joint Department for Education/Department of Health working party that drafted new guidance in 2012
2. UNISON/RCN Survey: Supporting Pupils with Health Needs in Schools 2012

3. UNISON/RCN Guidance: Providing Support for Children and Young People with Health Needs – A joint statement from the Royal College of Nursing and UNISON