From 1st October 2014 the Human Medicines (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2014 will allow schools to buy salbutamol inhalers, without a prescription, for use in emergencies. The emergency salbutamol inhaler should only be used by children, for whom written parental consent for use of the emergency inhaler has been given, who have either been diagnosed with asthma and prescribed an inhaler, or who have been prescribed an inhaler as reliever medication.
The inhaler can be used if the pupil’s prescribed inhaler is not available (for example, because it is broken, or empty).
This change applies to all primary and secondary schools in the UK. Schools are not required to hold an inhaler – this is a discretionary power enabling schools to do this if they wish.
“Schools are not required to hold an inhaler – this is a discretionary power enabling schools to do this if they wish.”
Schools which choose to keep an emergency inhaler should establish a policy or protocol for the use of the emergency inhaler based on this guidance.
Keeping an inhaler for emergency use will have many benefits. It could prevent an unnecessary and traumatic trip to hospital for a child, and potentially save their life. Parents are likely to have greater peace of mind about sending their child to school. Having a protocol that sets out how and when the inhaler should be used will also protect staff by ensuring they know what to do in the event of a child having an asthma attack.