Ashma sufferers kidsSchools could soon be allowed to keep spare inhalers on site to prevent children dying needlessly from asthma attacks, health officials said.

Charity Asthma UK said the 1.1 million children with the condition across the UK are at risk because at present schools are not allowed to keep an extra device in the event of an emergency. The blue reliever inhalers most commonly used to treat asthma attacks are prescription-only medicines.

It means that schools are not allowed to keep a spare inhaler for emergencies when children do not have their own inhaler, the charity was quoted by the mirror.co.uk.
But a change in the regulations could mean that schools are permitted to keep an asthma inhaler in their first aid kit. A mum whose eight-year-old daughter died after suffering an attack in school welcomed the news.

Olivia Chandler, of High Wycombe, died having an asthma attack in school in 2010.

Her mum Teresa said: "The school rang and asked me to come in with Olivia's spare inhaler. "While I was getting it ready two teachers arrived at my door to collect it and take it to her - they told me to stay at home.

"The next thing I knew another member of staff had arrived to pick me up and take me in. I asked if Olivia was OK and she replied: 'It's not looking good'.

"By the time we got to the school there were two ambulances outside. I rushed in and saw Olivia lying on the floor of the corridor receiving CPR.

"I'll never really know the exact details of what happened that day.

"Things might have been very different for Olivia if the school had been able to keep an emergency inhaler on site.

"It's too late for her, but it's not too late for my daughter Nicole, five, who also has asthma. If I knew her school had a spare inhaler available for emergencies it would definitely put my mind at ease."

Asthma UK, which has campaigned for a change in the rules, said that a change in the law will help save children's lives. Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: "Tragically, children have died from asthma attacks in school, so it's absolutely vital that schools have access to an emergency reliever inhaler if a child is having an asthma attack.

"The announcement represents a long-overdue step towards ensuring more young lives are not put at risk.

"But the fight is not over yet; unless people with asthma make their voices heard on this issue, it could still be many years before we see spare inhalers being available to children at school, if at all."

A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that a public consultation into the change will be launched but timings have not yet been confirmed. Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "Figures show that 62% of children with asthma have had an asthma attack at school, and 64% of children with asthma have been unable to access a working reliever inhaler in school at some point when they have needed one.

"We are keen to take all necessary steps to ensure children with serious health conditions are supported to manage their condition in schools. 

"The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are recommending that regulations be changed to allow schools to keep a spare asthma inhaler for use in emergencies. This would be voluntary for schools.

"We now need to consult on this measure and look at the best ways to do this, to ensure the safe and proper use of the inhaler in the care of these children."

But a change in the regulations could mean that schools are permitted to keep an asthma inhaler in their first aid kit. A mum whose eight-year-old daughter died after suffering an attack in school welcomed the news.

Olivia Chandler, of High Wycombe, died having an asthma attack in school in 2010.

Her mum Teresa said: "The school rang and asked me to come in with Olivia's spare inhaler. "While I was getting it ready two teachers arrived at my door to collect it and take it to her - they told me to stay at home.

"The next thing I knew another member of staff had arrived to pick me up and take me in. I asked if Olivia was OK and she replied: 'It's not looking good'.

"By the time we got to the school there were two ambulances outside. I rushed in and saw Olivia lying on the floor of the corridor receiving CPR.

"I'll never really know the exact details of what happened that day.

"Things might have been very different for Olivia if the school had been able to keep an emergency inhaler on site.

"It's too late for her, but it's not too late for my daughter Nicole, five, who also has asthma. If I knew her school had a spare inhaler available for emergencies it would definitely put my mind at ease."

Asthma UK, which has campaigned for a change in the rules, said that a change in the law will help save children's lives. Kay Boycott, chief executive of Asthma UK, said: "Tragically, children have died from asthma attacks in school, so it's absolutely vital that schools have access to an emergency reliever inhaler if a child is having an asthma attack.

"The announcement represents a long-overdue step towards ensuring more young lives are not put at risk.

"But the fight is not over yet; unless people with asthma make their voices heard on this issue, it could still be many years before we see spare inhalers being available to children at school, if at all."

A Department of Health spokesman confirmed that a public consultation into the change will be launched but timings have not yet been confirmed. Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "Figures show that 62% of children with asthma have had an asthma attack at school, and 64% of children with asthma have been unable to access a working reliever inhaler in school at some point when they have needed one.

"We are keen to take all necessary steps to ensure children with serious health conditions are supported to manage their condition in schools.

"The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are recommending that regulations be changed to allow schools to keep a spare asthma inhaler for use in emergencies. This would be voluntary for schools.
"We now need to consult on this measure and look at the best ways to do this, to ensure the safe and proper use of the inhaler in the care of these children."