Friday, 30 November 2012

School children with health needs are at risk and guidance must be updated urgently

30 Nov 2012

UNISON said today that a disturbing new survey showing school children with health needs are being put at risk backs our call to the Scottish Government for urgent action to update guidance and improve training and support for staff.

UNISON and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are jointly calling for action to protect children and young people with health needs in schools. A survey of school support staff and school nurses for UNISON and the RCN reveals a worrying picture.

Despite many examples of good practice, a growing number of children with increasingly complex health needs are being put at risk as staff are being pressurised into caring for them without enough training, supervision and support.

As teachers’ contracts do not include giving or supervising medicines, the responsibility often falls onto school support staff. More than one in four (28%) of support staff say that they do not feel comfortable or competent to give pupils medicines, or to support their health needs. This can include tube feeding, airway suctioning, tracheostomy care and catheterisation. Full details of the UK-wide survey are in the news release below.

UNISON is about to conduct a more detailed survey in Scotland covering the administration of medicines and medical procedures in educational establishments, and has recently raised the issues with Scottish Education Secretary Mike Russell.

Carol Ball, chair of the union’s Education Issues group, said: “We met with Mr Russell and pointed out that the main guidance on this is considerably out of date, going back to 2001. Indeed this was highlighted in last month’s report by the Scottish Children’s Commissioner Tam Baillie on a Freedom of Information survey of Scottish councils about the administration of medicine in schools.

“The Scottish Government must act urgently to protect children and update the guidance, ensuring proper training and support for all staff involved. Otherwise, as UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis warned today, this situation is a tragedy waiting to happen.”


Notes to Editors

1.       UNISON represents a range of staff providing medical and health care support in educational establishments, some of whom will be designated as school nurses, but including many other support staff.
2.       Full details of the survey announced today are in the news release below.

 UNISON UK news release, with survey details, is here


No comments:

Post a Comment