Earlier this week on Wednesday 14th March 2018 our Chief Executive Lynne Regent was delighted to attend a House of Commons debate on ‘Allergy Awareness in Schools’.
Westminster Hall debates in the Grand Committee Room allow time for individual MPs to raise issues of importance to them through a series of Private Members’ general debates.
We are grateful for Jo Swinson MP, Member for East Dunbartonshire, who is herself at risk of anaphylaxis, for securing this time to debate this important issue which covered a wide range of topics including:
- The need for further allergy awareness and education of children, parents and schools
- The positive impact of the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2017 which allow schools in the UK to buy adrenaline auto-injector devices without a prescription to use in an emergency on children who are at risk of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis
- Raising awareness more generally about allergies and anaphylaxis and the challenges in altering perceptions of allergy in the media
- Allergy support in local communities and the role of the Department for Education and of the Department of Health and Social Care
In her speech, Jo Swinson MP paid tribute to Nicky Forrest who runs a support group for people at risk of anaphylaxis in her local area in conjunction with the Anaphylaxis Campaign, saying:
“At this point, I pay tribute to Nicky Forrest, a mum in my constituency who, in addition to all sorts of work on the parent council of a local school, runs a local support group for allergy sufferers and their parents so they can share their experiences, advise one another and campaign.”
We also would like to thank Jo for her praise of the “excellent work” done by the Anaphylaxis Campaign and other organisations to help schools “improve the work that they do”.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi MP, Member for Stratford-on-Avon concluded the debate by saying:
“We have much to be proud of in how we have moved forward to address the medical conditions of pupils in schools, but I recognise that there may be much more that we can do. I have arranged a roundtable with the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance to discuss in detail the issues that it feels still need to be addressed, to ensure that every young person has the best opportunity to reach their full potential. I am open-minded about what will hopefully be put in front of me. I will take my learning from this debate to that roundtable and ensure that we consider the issue of allergies in the round, alongside those of other medical conditions in schools.”
The Health Conditions in School Alliance is made of over 30 organisations, including the Anaphylaxis Campaign, other charities, healthcare professionals and trade unions who work collaboratively to make sure children with health conditions get the care they need in school.