Paracetamol (and the use of other non-prescription medicines in schools)
Question 11: This is a particularly difficult balance to strike, is the guidance on this issue appropriate?
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54. There was a mixed response rate to this question, whilst many respondents did feel the guidance was appropriate although it fell slightly short of a majority. There were 26 responses regarding information which could be added, amended or removed.
55. Comments concerning paracetamol itself noted that the provision of medicines for headaches would be fine, although it could raise question as to where the boundaries lie in respect of schools administering medicines; the guidance could allow more flexibility for schools to consider limited use of pain relief medication in cases where pupils have not brought their own; clarify that a single day’s dosage should be limited to be enough to manage pain, with emergency protocols in place for schools to deal with suspected overdoses whilst highlighting the danger of misusing medicine.
56. In the case of other medicines, suggestions included keeping Piriton on-site for emergency treatment of allergies; the guidance should recommend medication queries on prescribed or bought medicines be directed to a pharmacist; and, in the case of medicines in blister packs, keeping the medication in its original pack is vital because cutting blister packs might remove details about the type of medication or its expiry date.
57. The final point in relation to this question covered parental consent. Comments included school handbooks set out expectations of parental responsibility when young people carry their own medicine to school, including parents providing information of dosage given before school so as to prevent overdosing during the school day; independent school representatives say they already have written parental consent to administer non-prescription medicines; and that paracetamol can be administered following a fall where the school has contacted the parent for permission.