Education & Family

Asthma inhalers could go into schools

Inhaler Image copyright PA
Image caption Asthma inhalers are prescribed medications

Plans to allow schools to keep spare asthma inhalers could reduce the risk of emergency hospital admission or even death for more than a million pupils, according to campaigners.

The blue reliever inhalers are prescribed medicines, which means schools are not allowed to keep spares.

But a consultation on allowing them to be kept in first-aid kits means they could be in place next year.

Asthma UK says 1.1 million pupils are at risk because of present rules.

Safeguard children

The Department of Health confirmed in October that a public consultation into the change in regulations would be launched, but timings had been unclear.

Now the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says the consultation will also look at providing guidance for schools on the use of the devices.

Tory MP Margot James said: "I am delighted that the MHRA has now launched a consultation on this issue and I certainly encourage all interested parties to respond.

"It is vitally important for schools to be able to keep a spare inhaler for use in emergencies and the change will help safeguard children with asthma, preventing unnecessary hospital admissions or even avoidable deaths.

"The consultation will help to shape the regulations and guidance for schools, and ensure they have the greatest possible impact."

Emergency use

A Department of Health spokesman said final details of the consultation were being agreed and that it would be published "shortly".

He added: "We have been working closely with Asthma UK to develop guidance for schools that will allow them to hold an asthma inhaler for emergency use if they wish.

"We want to make sure that children with serious health conditions are supported to manage them in schools and will be consulting publicly on this change shortly."

Three-quarters of the many daily child emergency admissions due to asthma are believed to be avoidable given better management of the condition at school or in the home.

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