Today’s correspondent holds
… a Diploma of Paramedical Science and I am in my 2nd year of a Nursing degree in NSW. I am not registered with AHPRA.
I have been asked by a community run, non-profit organisation to volunteer as the First Aider at their 3-day overnight camp for children with special needs. They have also asked me if I could store children’s medications in the First Aid room and disseminate them accordingly. Would this be legal? If not, would you know which additional qualifications I would need?
I won’t comment on whether it’s appropriate to act as the first aider at a 3-day overnight camp for children with special needs. Conducting the relevant risk assessment is a matter for my correspondent and requires far more information that we have here. Further that is not the subject of the question, the question is about the children’s medication and the question flows from my earlier post Epipens in a Queensland workplace (September 18, 2019).
The drugs in question are, I will assume, either schedule 3 or prescribed schedule 4 drugs. In NSW s 4 drugs are ‘restricted substances’; a schedule 3 substance is a ‘poison’ (Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW) s 4). There are rules that limit who may supply and administer those drugs, but I will assume that they have been lawfully supplied to the child, or the child’s parent or guardian, by a pharmacist – they are the child’s drugs.
The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW) s 10(3) says:
A person who supplies a restricted substance [ie a S4 medication] otherwise than by wholesale is guilty of an offence.
That could suggest that my correspondent is committing an offence, but s 10(4)(c1) says that rule does not apply to
… a person who has the care of, or is assisting in the care of, another person (for or to whom the supply of the substance has been authorised by the prescription of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, midwife practitioner or dentist) and who administers the restricted substance to the other person in accordance with that prescription
My correspondent will be ‘assisting in the care of…’ the child who had had the medication prescribed. Provided my correspondent ‘administers the restricted substance to the other person in accordance with that prescription’ there is no offence.
My view would be that my correspondent is not supplying the drugs (see s 4, definition of ‘supply’) as they have been supplied to the patient by a pharmacist. That too would mean that there is no offence. In short if a person has lawfully obtained medication from a pharmacist, a person involved in their care can assist them to store and take their medication.