Schools can now store adrenaline pens
Schools from today (1st October 2017) will be able to order and buy extra adrenaline auto-injectors such as EpiPen, Jext or Emerade, from pharmacies and store them for emergency use only, this is because there has been a change in the law.
Before this date children needed to have a prescription to have one with them in school, so it is a welcome change in the law and will hopefully reduce fatal allergic reactions which currently are 17% according to media sources.
This is a move by the British government to help prevent avoidable deaths from an allergic reaction and also to give parents peace of mind that if their child had an allergic reaction whilst at school, then emergency adrenaline auto-injectors were available.
Can schools use this adrenaline auto-injectors on any pupil?
You still need consent from the doctor of the pupil and also parental consent must be obtained, and these spare devices can only be used on pupils who are at risk of anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic reaction which needs to be dealt with swiftly.
These devices can only be used in an emergency if say the pupil has forgotten to bring them with them to school if their device failed to work properly, or if the pupil used it incorrectly.
Quite often with the change in the law, the Department of Health has issued new guidelines to schools on how to use adrenaline auto-injectors.
This also describes to schools how to recognise the signs of mild allergic reactions and the more serious anaphylaxis.
Do schools have to buy spare auto-injectors?
YES, schools will have to buy spare adrenaline auto-injectors, after all, a school should be a safe learning environment for all pupils and staff.
Some will complain that these auto-injectors have to come out of their budgets, but if one life is saved because of it, then it is money well spent.
Recently schools could buy extra “Asthma Inhalers” for use in their schools, and schools in our area did buy a few spare inhalers for use in an emergency.
We welcome the change in the law allowing schools to buy and store extra adrenaline auto-injectors and if it saves 1 life then it is surely worth it, it will also give peace of mind to many parents who have children who are at risk of an allergic reaction and can receive the emergency help they need whilst awaiting the emergency services to arrive on scene.