Self-Administration of Medicines at School by Students Living with Medical Conditions

Nicola Gray, Mariam Al-Sallami, Charlotte Cunningham, Maream Hadi, Nikola Janowska, Marinela Lazri, Farah Saleem

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background: Every school in England is required to have a policy to support students with a medical condition under statutory guidance issued by the Department for Education [1]. An individual healthcare plan (IHP) should be in place for every student who needs medical care at school. The guidance promotes self-administration of medicines where possible, supervised by an adult.

Methods: An online data collection form was developed to facilitate content analysis of school health/medicine policies. One topic within the form was to search for content relating to self-administration of medicines. Each student was assigned to 1 or 2 of the 9 regions of England and used search engines to find school websites with accessible health/medicine policies. We sought a diverse sample of schools (e.g. nursery age to college; urban and suburban; public and private/fee-paying). Ethical approval was not needed for this study of public documents.

Results: Twenty-four of the 50 school policies analysed related to secondary schools and/or colleges for students aged 11-18. Eighteen of these 24 schools included statements about self-administration of medicines. Many were comprehensive, that young people with medical conditions should assume complete responsibility under parental supervision. Others specified self-administration for diabetes, asthma or severe allergies. Some schools described restricting access to controlled drugs.

Conclusion: Most schools have adopted a positive approach to self-administration of medicines consistent with the recommendations of statutory guidance. There is, however, some variation in this approach and a minority of schools that still prefer to keep medication stored away. In order to empower young people living with medical conditions, policies must be explicit in their approach, and school staff feeling confident to support students needing medicines.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Pages (from-to)80-80
Number of pages1
JournalDevelopmental and Adolescent Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2022
Event22nd International Association for Adolescent Health (IAAH) European Regional Conference: Youth Development Challenges in the post-COVID-19 era - Athens, Greece
Duration: 5 Oct 20227 Oct 2022
Conference number: 22


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