Page 1419 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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holding of serious complaints made by families that have been affected by poor decision making that continues here today. By way of this motion, Mr Doszpot is doing his best to ensure not only that the right and proper way is taken forward but that a good result is achieved for all.

It is imperative that nurses are the ones responsible for the healthcare needs of our young people in special schools. This is not the remit of teachers; nor should it be. From my perspective as the shadow minister for disability, I have seen firsthand, at special schools both in the ACT and in other jurisdictions, the importance of having specialist medical attention on hand for these students. We are not just talking about minor medical attention; we are talking about detailed monitoring of blood glucose levels, the changing of complexly placed feeding pegs, the management of seizures, and chronic pain management. These needs transcend what can be expected of a teacher or an LSA.

I have had many conversations with parents of children who attend these special schools who are not just outraged by the lack of attention being given to this very important issue by the current government but fearful of what could go wrong without adequate medical care for their children.

In one letter I received from a parent from Cranleigh late last year on the issue, she says:

This letter is written to convey the concerns of the Cranleigh School parents/carers regarding the ACT Health’s new program Healthcare Access at School (HAAS). As Cranleigh School’s P & C President and member of the school board, I am privileged to work with many families. I speak on their behalf as an advocate. My intention is to work with the government in meeting the needs of our community’s children.

To say the parents/carers are in an uproar would be an understatement. A large number of Cranleigh students have complex medical issues with not just one, but several diagnoses, some of which are life threatening.

Duty of care, broadly paraphrased, states that teaching staff owe a duty to take care of the welfare and safety of the students. To leave the multifaceted, difficult and complicated care of Cranleigh students’ health in staff’s hands without proper medical training is quite alarming to parents/carers. Will the training rival that of a nurse’s education? Will there be real life crises supervised by qualified staff to ascertain the new staff’s emotional capability to deal with medical emergencies? Being from the USA, I know of a highly trained person—

trained under a similar program to the HAAS program—

who, when an emergency arose, folded under the pressure and this lack of action led to several months of hospital care for the person with the illness.

The letter goes on to say:

This is not an overstatement—some parents/carers fear that their child will die or become seriously ill if proper medical assistance is not at the ready.

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