Sunday 18 May 2014

Does your child have Asthma? ~ Inhalers In Schools Consultation

I'm not usually one for soppy films, but I love 4 Weddings and a Funeral. It always makes me cry though, and it's not for the story, it's for Charlotte Coleman, the lady who played Scarlett. I'd grown up with her, she was my hero. She played the girl in Wurzel Gummidge, she was Marmalade Atkins, she was the TV star of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and she was lead female role in 'How Do You Want Me?' which never got the viewers it deserved.

She died 7 years after filming 4 Weddings, aged only 33 and alone in her own home, from an asthma attack. Sadly she's not alone, over 1,200 people die from asthma in the UK every year. 

My ex has asthma, the father of my 3 older children, and my oldest child had mild asthma for a couple of years as a child. We were very fortunate, none of our 3 children inherited their father's asthma, and my son never had a nasty attack anywhere, including at school. Lots of children aren't so lucky.
"More than two thirds (68%) of children with asthma across the UK have had an asthma attack whilst at school"*
I've been a First Aider in a College and a Playgroup, and I was a Childminder for 7 years. I'd be mortified to be in a position where a child was seriously ill, I knew how to help and even had access to what I needed, but were legally unable to do anything.
"86% of children say they have been without their own inhaler because they have forgotten, lost, broken or run out of it"*
Asthma UK, the UK's leading asthma charity, are campaigning to have a spare asthma reliever inhaler placed in the first aid box of every school. It would be for use only in emergencies by children who have forgotten or lost their own inhaler.

At the moment it is against the law for schools to hold or oversee the dispensing of any medicine not prescribed for a specific child. An exception has been made regarding Bronchiodilaters (relievers/Ventolin/Salbutamol) for the RNLI and the Armed Forces, so it's easy to add schools to those exceptions.

I really feel that when a child has been prescribed such a common medicine that they would be in charge of themselves anyway, and which can be the difference between life and death, there can be no harm for the school staff to be allowed to take the initiative in an emergency. I would rather they did if it was my child.

The Government has opened a consultation on Inhalers In Schools and need responses from the public to gauge if we think it's important or necessary. You only have until 30th May. You can give your opinion and support the campaign by completing the short comment form here (link removed as out of date)...
UPDATE - Tuesday 15th July 2014

In today’s health questions in parliament, the Secretary of State for Health Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP confirmed that the law will change to allow schools to keep spare emergency inhalers. A statutory instrument to amend the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 will be laid later this week and the change in the law will come into force on the 1 October. 

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK adds, “It is absolutely vital that every child with asthma has an asthma action plan. These help parents to understand their child’s symptoms, how to know if their child’s asthma is getting worse and what they need to do about it. Children who don’t have an action plan are four times more likely to need to go to hospital for their asthma – you can download a plan from

*Asthma UK Survey of 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

I was not paid for this post.


  1. I completely agree. This is not something I have thought about before, but has made me think now! My husband has asthma and it has crossed my mind that the little ones have the chance of inheriting it.

    If this was the case I would want them to be safe at school too. Kids are terrible for losing things, (always the important things too!), it seems important to have a back up for something so common and something so life saving!

    I have been over and added my name!

    1. Thanks Kel! I really do think it's common sense :)

  2. It is common sense to have that in school! Hope they will success getting it pass.

    1. Cheers Eileen - as you're a Nurse your opinion is very welcome :)

  3. It was so sad about Charlotte Coleman wasn't it, I felt the same way. It is madness not to have them in schools.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mary - I wasn't sure anyone would know who I meant :)


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