Teachers and Administration of Medicines in Schools

1. No teacher is required to administer medicine or drugs to a pupil.

2. A teacher who is willing to administer medicines will only do so under strictly controlled guidelines and in emergency situations only. A teacher who does take responsibility for administering medicines takes on a heavy legal duty of care to discharge the responsibility correctly. Every reasonable precaution must be taken. Clear instructions about medicines requiring regular administration must be obtained and strictly followed.

PROCEDURE:

(a) the parent(s) of the pupil concerned should write to the Board of Management requesting the Board to authorise a member of the teaching staff to administer the medication;

(b) the request should also contain written instructions of the procedure to be followed in administering the medication;

(c) the Board of Management, will consider the matter and may authorise a teacher to administer medication to a pupil. If the teacher is so authorised and, is willing to administer, she/he should be properly instructed by the Board of Management;

(d) a teacher will not administer medication without the specific authorisation of the Board;

(e) in administering medication to pupils, teachers will exercise the standard of care of a reasonable and prudent parent;

(f) the Board of Management will inform the school’s insurers accordingly;

(g) the Board of Management will seek an indemnity from the parent(s) in respect of any liability that may arise regarding the administration of the medication.

Arrangements will also be made by the Board of Management for the safe storage of medication and procedures for the administration of medication in the event of the authorised teacher’s absence. It is the parent’s responsibility to check each morning whether or not the authorised teacher is in school unless an alternative arrangement is made locally.

In emergencies teachers will do no more than is obviously necessary and appropriate to relieve extreme distress or prevent further and otherwise irreparable harm. Qualified medical treatment will be secured in emergencies at the earliest opportunity.

Where possible schools will request that medical practitioners would arrange times for medication so that they don’t coincide with school time.

It is important that the parents ensure that teachers are made aware in writing of any medical condition suffered by any children in their class. Children who are epileptics or diabetics or who are prone to anaphylactic shock syndrome may have an attack at any time and it is vital, therefore, to identify the symptoms in order that treatment can be given by an appropriate person if necessary.