Many young people with narcolepsy need to take doses of medication while at school. Particularly for younger children, who have not reached an age at which they are ready to take care of and be responsible for their own medication, it is vital that the school has an appropriate policy and adequate procedures in place to ensure that medications are stored securely and are administered in accordance with the child's needs.
All school governing bodies must make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions. The school's medication policy should cover such things as:
Obtaining full details of the medication(s) and dose(s) required, and parents'/carers' consent to school staff administering those doses.
Ensuring that responsible staff are fully aware of the dose(s) to be administered and the procedures to be followed.
Arrangements for the secure storage of all medications, with particular provision for Controlled Drugs.
Ensuring that a suitable and private place is available (ideally the same place that medications are stored) where medication can be administered.
Return or Disposal
Arrangements for the return of unused medications to the parents/carers, and/or for their disposal by the school.
Providing a record of all doses administered and ensuring that all medications are accounted for.
Statutory guidance for governing bodies of schools in England can be found here. Adhering to this guidance is likely to meet the requirements of schools in other parts of the UK also.
An example of a guidance note prepared by one local authority (Birmingham Health Education Service) can be found here and contains useful templates for a school medication policy (though this document dates from 2010 and governing bodies should ensure that their policy complies with later legislation including the Children and Families Act 2014), as well a school medication consent form and a school medication administration form.
Our advice to parents/carers of schoolchildren with narcolepsy who need to take medication during school hours is to request a copy of the school's medication policy and to satisfy themselves that it meets their child's needs. If the school does not have a suitable policy, the documents accessible through the links above may assist the school in putting appropriate procedures in place.
If you are a parent of a child with narcolepsy, and are concerned that proper procedures are not being followed by your child's school, please contact us and we will do what we can to help.