When a medical practitioner has prescribed medication that must be administered during the school day, parents/carers must:
- notify the school
- provide up to date information as required
- supply the medication and any 'consumables' necessary for its administration in a timely way.
The administration of such medication forms part of the department's common law duty of care to take reasonable steps to keep students safe while they attend school.
All staff employed in School Administrative Manager, School Administrative Officer, School Learning Support Officer and Aboriginal Education Officer classifications are required to perform duties and complete relevant training associated with the administration of medication, as directed by the principal.
Except in an emergency, only individual staff members who have been trained will administer prescribed medication to students. Anaphylaxis and e-Emergency care training are mandatory for all permanent, temporary and casual school-based staff.
Training is available through the self-paced online course, Administration of Medication in Schools, available through the MyPL system. Staff support material can be accessed at Health and Safety: Administration of Medication once training has been completed.
Parents/carers of children who require prescribed medication to be administered at school must complete a written request (DOCX 74.32KB) Students must not carry medications unless there is a written agreement between the school and the student's parents/carers.
A letter will be provided to parents/carers from the Principal confirming arrangements for the administration of the student’s medication at school.
The principal must store all copies of the written medical advice and any other relevant documentation in a secure and confidential manner.
Self administration of prescribed medication by students
The common law duty of care does not extend to administering prescribed medication to students who are reasonably able to self administer.
However, the department must take reasonable steps to ensure that the self administration is carried out safely.
Schools do not generally supply or administer medications in an emergency unless they have been provided by parents as part of an individual health support plan for a specific student.
In an emergency which has not been anticipated in the emergency/response care section of an individual health support plan, staff will provide a general emergency response (for example, call an ambulance). Where an emergency response requires the immediate administration of medication to prevent serious illness or injury, staff should administer the required medication.
Schools generally don’t administer medication that hasn’t been requested for an individual student’s specific condition. In some cases the medical practitioner may not write a prescription for such medication because it may be available 'over the counter'. NSW Health advises that ‘over the counter’ medication may still be harmful and that schools should follow the same procedures for non-prescribed medications as for prescribed medications.
Should a student be injured or made ill as a result of the administration of prescribed medication or health care procedures by a member of staff, the staff member is protected by the legal principle of vicarious liability in relation to personal injury proceedings.
This means that unless the staff member has deliberately injured the student, or behaved with reckless disregard for the student's safety, the department will be liable for any injury caused by the negligence of the staff member.