This article seeks to clarify the current guidance on administering medicines in early years settings. Paragraph 3.45 of the EYFS states that ‘medicines must not usually be administered unless they have been prescribed’. This means that it must not be usual practice for an early years provider to administer medicines without permission to do so and not that all medicines, both prescription and non-prescription have to have been prescribed for a child by a doctor, dentist, nurse of pharmacist. For example, a provider cannot decide for themselves that a particular child needs to have a pain or fever reliever.
Both prescription and non-prescription medicines can only be administered where written permission has been obtained from the child’s parent or carer. Providers should not expect parents to make unnecessary appointments with their child’s doctor to obtain prescriptions for medicines (other than for medicines containing aspirin) that can normally be obtained directly from a chemist. When the EYFS is next amended the DfE will use the opportunity to clarify the section on medicines so that this is clear.
In addition the next EYFS will include a link to guidance published by Public Health England specifically for schools and childcare settings on infection control for various conditions (including conjunctivitis) which sets out when and for how long children need to be excluded, when treatment/medication is required and where to get further advice. This useful guidance can be found here.