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Teaching assistants urged to resist medical care pressure

16/06/2009 Joanna
A growing number of teaching assistants are being pressured into carrying out medical treatment that they are not trained for, it has been claimed.

Unison has warned that most support staff only have a basic first aid certificate, but are being pressured into more complex procedures such as changing colostomy bags and administering drugs for heart problems to the children that they are working with.

The union has called on the government to crack down on schools that are encouraging their support staff to carry out medical procedures that they are not trained for.

"Many reported feeling emotionally blackmailed into doing these tasks and were worried about the potential risks to children," said Christina McAnea, head of education at Unison.

A study carried out by Unison found that over 70 per cent of teaching assistants and schools support staff are expected to administer medicines for a wide variety of medical conditions.

"This evidence shows a chronic lack of training and support for school staff who are expected to provide a wide range of medical support to pupils," Ms McAnea added.

Unison is Britain and Europe's biggest public sector union with more than 1.3 million members, its website states.
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