Published: Friday 21 November 2014

Since 1st October 2014, the Human Medicines (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2014 now allows primary and secondary schools in England to obtain salbutamol inhalers for the treatment of acute asthma attacks in children.

Schools given permission to keep emergency salbutamol inhalers.

Stephen McPartland MP said, “I am absolutely delighted we have been successful and I would like to thank Asthma UK and their supporters who helped make this happen. Children's lives were being put at risk simply because of a technical point of law. It has been a long campaign, but we have won and thousands of children now have access to an emergency inhaler during an asthma attack in school. I am very proud that we have made this difference and believe it will help save children’s lives and reduce hospital admissions due to severe asthma attacks.”

Approximately 20 children of school age in England and Wales die every year from asthma and most deaths occur before the child reaches hospital. In 2012, Asthma UK made enquiries as to whether the law could be changed to allow schools to keep a spare reliever inhaler for use in an emergency.

The Department of Health (DH) consulted with the Department for Education (DfE). Over 4,000 responses to the consultation were received, from parents, people with asthma, paediatric and respiratory clinicians, school nurses, GPs, pharmacists and key organisations. Staff and parents were almost unanimously in favour of schools being allowed to hold an inhaler for emergency use.

Schools can buy inhalers and spacers (the plastic funnels which make it easier to deliver asthma medicine to the lungs) from a pharmaceutical supplier on the written request of the head teacher or principle. More information about this from The Department of Health Information from AOFA.

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