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New legislation allows “spare” emergency adrenaline auto-injectors in schools

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New legislation has been passed in Westminster, allowing schools in the UK to keep spare adrenaline auto-injectors for emergency use.

The legislation was passed this week and will come into effect from 1 October 2017.

“We are delighted that our campaign has delivered the result we hoped for”

Working group statement

It will enable schools in the UK to keep spare auto-injectors (AAIs) that deliver a potentially life-saving dose of adrenaline in the event of anaphylaxis.

The legislation was called for by a working group made up of representatives from the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Allergy UK, the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology, the British Paediatric Allergy Immunity and Infection Group, and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

It has campaigned over the last two years for the government to amend the Human Medicines Act to allow schools to buy AAIs from a pharmaceutical supplier, without prescription, for use in emergencies.

The group and its respective organisations today welcomed the new legislation allowing school staff to administer an emergency AAI to any child who has been assessed as being at risk of anaphylaxis.

The campaign gained a huge groundswell of support, with over 99% of 1,600 parents and 96% of 800 teachers surveyed in 2015 supporting the proposal.

The survey formed a crucial part of the evidence presented to the Department of Health, said the working group

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A public consultation conducted by the DH this year also found overwhelming support for a change in the law to allow schools to hold spare AAIs, without a prescription, for use in emergencies.

In a joint statement, the five organisations represented in the working group said: “The rise in food allergy among young people is posing a significant risk for schools who can be faced with a life-threatening situation requiring urgent action. One in five fatal food-allergic reactions in children happen at school.”

“Schools can now purchase the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, without a prescription,” it said. “While not compulsory, we hope many schools will take advantage of this change as part of their duty of care to those children who are at risk of anaphylaxis.

“This is likely to increase awareness and highlight the need for staff to be trained to recognise and treat anaphylaxis in school,” said the working group, noting that it was now developing a website to support school staff.

It added: “For a parent of a child at risk from anaphylaxis, this will provide valuable reassurance that their child can receive prompt emergency treatment while on school premises. We are delighted that our campaign has delivered the result we hoped for.”

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