Update 7th July 2017
NEW LEGISLATION ALLOWS “SPARE” EMERGENCY ADRENALINE AUTO-INJECTORS IN SCHOOLS
New legislation was passed in Westminster this week to allow schools in the UK to keep spare adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) for emergency use. AAIs deliver a potentially life-saving dose of adrenaline in the event of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). The legislation comes into effect from 1 October 2017.
A working group, made up of representatives from the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Allergy UK, the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (BSACI), the British Paediatric Allergy Immunity and Infection Group (BPAIIG), and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), 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 working group and their respective organisations have welcomed the new legislation, which allows school staff to administer an emergency AAI to any child who has been assessed as being at risk of anaphylaxis.
Their campaign gained a huge groundswell of support from parents and teachers: over 1600 parents/carers and 800 teachers completed a survey in 2015 to assess backing for the campaign: over 99% of parents and 96% of teachers supported the proposal. The survey formed a crucial part of the evidence presented to the Department of Health. A public consultation conducted by the Department of Health 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.
A joint statement from the five organisations says:
“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. 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. The working group is now developing a website which will provide online resources to support school staff.
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.”
Update: 16th March 2017
Our spare adrenaline in schools campaign aims for a change in the law to allow schools, pre-schools and nurseries to hold generic adrenaline auto-injectors, and ensure they have sufficient trained staff to operate the device in case of an emergency.
Following the recommendation of the Commission on Human Medicines, the government is proposing to change the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 to enable schools to purchase and hold spare AAIs for use in emergencies. The campaign has now reached the point of a public consultation to hear your views on the changes.
Visit the Department of Health website to take part in the consultation: https://consultations.dh.gov.uk/hmr/adrenaline-auto-injectors/
Update: 10th January 2017
The plans for an amendment to legislation which will allow schools to hold a spare adrenaline injector for use in case of emergencies continues to progress positively and we have just heard that this change is to come into effect in October of this year.
We had hoped it would be sooner but some Government clearance meant things have been delayed slightly.
In the meantime, there will be a public consultation and the development of a robust training programme for school staff and we will keep you updated throughout the year.
Update: 11th October 2016
We are delighted that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has agreed to begin the process to change legislation to allow schools to hold a spare adrenaline auto-injector (AAI).
“Supply of adrenaline auto-injectors to schools for emergency use in the event of one of the pupils having an anaphylactic reaction
The Commission considered and discussed a paper on the use of Adrenaline Autoinjectors in schools. Adrenaline Auto-Injectors (AAI) are self-injecting devices developed as a first-aid measure for the treatment of anaphylaxis. They can be administered by patients or parents, carers and teachers who are not healthcare professionals. Following an extensive discussion: The Commission recommended a change to the legislation to allow schools to hold one or more adrenaline auto-injector devices in order to administer adrenaline to a child known to have a severe allergy and who has been prescribed an AAI, in the event of that child suffering an anaphylactic attack. The Commission recommended that appropriate guidance and protocols must be developed to support this change in legislation. The Commission recommended that the details of the guidance and protocols should be developed by the Department of Health in conjunction with local providers/commissioning groups. The Commission also commented that MAHs of AAIs should be encouraged to standardise the colour coding for the needle end of devices to minimise the risk of needle-stick injury to the person administering the AAI.”
17th August 2016
Our campaign to allow schools across the UK to hold a generic adrenaline auto injector continues with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) now considering our evidence and work being carried out with the Department for Health on guidance for teachers. The next step will be a public consultation. We will keep you posted as things progress.
Many thanks to everyone who recently completed our surveys to gather evidence for the campaign to allow generic adrenaline auto-injectors to be available in schools.
Three surveys were open for parents of school aged children, healthcare professionals and teachers. 1,609 parents, 519 healthcare professionals (half of which were school nurses) and 821 teachers completed the surveys.
We have now presented our paper to the Department of Health where it was received very favourably. Now, together with the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), they will consider the proposal and we should find out very soon what their decision is and what the next steps will be.
We will update you as soon as we hear anything on our website and also in Outlook magazine, which will be published in September.
This campaign’s objective is for a change in the law to allow schools, pre-schools and nurseries to hold generic adrenaline auto-injectors, and ensure they have sufficient trained staff to operate the device in case of an emergency.
In the UK, up to 6% of children and young people have a food allergy. Children and young people diagnosed with allergy are frequently prescribed adrenaline auto-injector devices in case of a potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Although the majority of children with anaphylaxis respond to a single adrenaline auto-injector, some children may require a further dose and it is possible that devices may misfire or be used incorrectly. Therefore, within schools, children at risk of anaphylaxis should have access to two adrenaline auto-injectors at all times.
This campaign is being led by the Anaphylaxis Campaign alongside Allergy UK, The British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (BSACI) British Paediatric Allergy Immunity and Infection Group (BPAIIG) and is supported by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.