As a teacher, my job is to work with parents for the benefit of the child. That is why I am very uncomfortable with the idea of hiding information from them. The practice of nurses giving out nicotine patches to smoking students without notifying parents constitutes a breach of trust. It is not our place to be giving out nicotine patches or condoms or anything of that sort. That’s chiefly the responsibility of parents. To be doing this without their knowledge and expressed permission goes against the objectives of our role and constitutes a clear breach of trust:
Children as young as 12 are being handed nicotine patches by NHS nurses at school without permission from their parents.
The patches are being distributed by nurses employed by NHS South West Essex who visit schools every fortnight and speak to the children confidentially.
NHS guidelines say children as young as 12 can access nicotine patches from chemists and GPs throughout the country, but it’s up to each primary care trust what services they offer.
Parents at one school in Basildon, Essex voiced concerns that parents weren’t being told about the service.
Danielle Northcott, 39, whose 13-year-old daughter Amaris is a pupil at Basildon with Woodlands School in Takely End, Essex, where patches are distributed, said: “Woodlands is a good school and even though I didn’t know the nicotine patches were available I would rather her have that than a cigarette in her mouth.
“As parents I do think we should have been consulted on it and the school should have been clear about it.
“Some parents will not agree with the meetings between the child and the nurse being confidential and it will divide opinion. The only thing that worries me is that the patches will become a status symbol and children could want them just to look cool in front of their friends.”
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