Guest Post from Asthma UK – Please help us campaign for emergency inhalers in schools

 asthma campaign for emergency inhalers in school

Did you know that right now it’s illegal for schools to hold an emergency spare inhaler to use in the event of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack? This is despite the fact that there are over 1 million children with asthma in the UK and every single day 84 of these children are admitted to hospital for emergency treatment. Tragically the equivalent of a classroom of children die every year because of the condition which is why Asthma UK is campaigning to change the law to allow schools to keep a spare emergency inhaler.

Earlier this month the Government announced a public consultation on spare emergency inhalers in schools which is open until Friday 30 May. This is where we really need your help. We need you to come to www.asthma.org.uk/schoolinhalers1 and complete the consultation response so we can highlight how important this issue is. It is vital that the law is changed this summer so children with asthma do not have to go through another school year without access to a spare emergency inhaler.

Our supporters told us that more than two thirds (68%) of children with asthma across the UK have had an asthma attack whilst at school and 86% of children say they have been without their own inhaler because they have forgotten, lost, broken or run out of it (see footnote) and the high pollution levels in April showed how children with asthma can suddenly be at increased risk of an attack. It will soon be required by law through the Children’s and Families Act that all schools in England must make appropriate arrangements for supporting pupils with long-term health conditions like asthma. This highlights just how crucial it is that schools have access to all the resources necessary to be able to do this, such as a spare emergency inhaler in their first aid kits.

“Now is the crucial time for people with asthma to lend their support by visiting www.asthma.org.uk/schoolinhalers1. We simply cannot miss this opportunity or it could still be many years before we see emergency, life-saving spare inhalers in schools,” adds Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK.

Asthma UK is the UK’s leading asthma charity. We’re here to support people with asthma when they need us the most and fund world-leading research to find better treatments and ultimately a cure. The Asthma UK Helpline offers independent advice about asthma for anyone worried or who would like to talk confidentially to a specialist asthma nurse. It is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm on 0800 121 62 44. For more information about asthma please visit www.asthma.org.uk

Footnote: We spoke to 1815 people (153 children (aged between 5 and 18 years of age) and 1662 adults) from across the UK, online between 13 and 22 January 2014).