Private schools call for patient group directions

Nurses working in private and independent schools are frustrated that they cannot use patient group directions (PGDs) to administer inhalers and vaccinations to children.

Lack of PGDs frustrate nurses
Lack of PGDs frustrate nurses
The regulations state that nurses employed directly by schools can only prescribe under PGDs if a PCT enters into a contract with them, and authorises the action and supply of medicine.

Sarah Day, independent school representative for the RCN school nurses' forum said that parents had ‘opted out of education, not health' and the children were registered with local GPs.

'At the moment boarding school nurses administer under a patient-specific direction with local GPs or refer patients back to the practice for vaccines. Even nurses with prescribing qualifications can only write private prescriptions because they are employed by the school.'

Ms Day said school holidays and long days often meant that private school children had problems accessing GP and sexual health services.

In spite of the RCN writing to all PCTs outlining the options for easing practice workload, Ms Day said they had only received one response.

PCTs are responsible for all children in their area, but they don't seem to want to take on the responsibility for the nurses to work with PGDs or prescribe,' she said.

The problem is the lack of in-line medical management or clinical supervision, despite boarding schools working closely with local GPs.

'Considering we pay for all our own training it doesn't seem much to ask PCTs for their support and a contract in which to provide the best possible service for our children and young people,' Ms Day added.

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