Health care procedures

School health care procedures are implemented within a framework provided by the Work Health and Safety Act, 2011 and the Common Law.

The department has a duty to ensure the safety of staff and students.

The Work Health and Safety Act also provides that an employee must, while at work, take reasonable care for the health and safety of people who are at the employee's place of work or who may be affected by the employee's acts or omissions at work.

As a minimum this means that any staff member must, if necessary, assist in an emergency.

Where a student has been diagnosed with a condition that may require an emergency response, the Principal will co-ordinate the development of an emergency response plan as part of the Individual Health Care Plan for the student.

Where training is needed, it is essential for all staff who are likely to be called upon to administer prescribed medication or health care procedures in an emergency be appropriately trained by a suitable qualified person. Anaphylaxis training and e-Emergency Care are mandatory for all permanent, temporary and casual school based staff.

In an emergency, a staff member administers prescribed medication or health care procedures to a student in accordance with his or her training and agreements documented in the emergency care section of the student's individual health care plan.

Except in an emergency, staff administer prescribed medication or health care procedures to students on a voluntary basis and are trained to do so.

Legal liability

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.

Role of principals

Principals are required to:

  • assist students who have health support needs at school
  • have systems in place to collect health information about students at enrolment and on a regular basis
  • collect and record the immunisation status of students at enrolment (primary schools and preschools only)
  • have systems in place to protect the health and safety of all students when they are at school or involved in school activities
  • develop a health care plan for any student:
    • diagnosed with severe asthma, type 1 diabetes, epilepsy or anaphylaxis and/or
    • diagnosed with a condition  that may require an emergency response
    • who requires the administration of health care procedures
  • collaboratively review health care plans at least annually
  • where requested, assist with the administration of prescribed medication for a student when a medical practitioner has prescribed medication that must be administered during the school day
  • provide temporary care when a student becomes unwell at school, which may include the provision of first aid (including emergency care)
  • report cases of vaccine preventable diseases, as listed on the NSW Health website, to the local public health unit
  • ensure the school does not use peanuts, tree nuts or any nut products in curriculum or extracurricular activities. This does not include food labelled as ‘may contain traces of nuts’.
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