Pharmacy Voice has welcomed the Department of Health's (DH) decision to refer schools to community pharmacists for advice on using emergency inhalers.
The DH's final guidance for schools wishing to keep a salbutamol inhaler for emergencies – which they are legally allowed to do from next month – referred to pharmacies as a source of advice after Pharmacy Voice raised the issue in June.
The DH advised schools to talk to a community pharmacist about which plastic spacer was most appropriate for the age group of their pupils. Pharmacies could also provide advice about using inhalers, although they could not supply the devices free of charge, the DH said.
Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott told C+D yesterday (September 4) that he was pleased its recommendations had been listened to and highlighted the need for schools to build a relationship with local community pharmacy teams.
"It is important that all schools feel comfortable contacting [pharmacy teams] for advice on the medicines being used by their pupils. Community pharmacy can give expert advice on the different types of inhalers available and the techniques required to use them effectively," Mr Darracott said.
In June, Pharmacy Voice called for the DH to provide greater clarity about how pharmacies could legally supply inhalers to schools. In its response to a DH consultation on the guidance, the representative body also suggested that teachers would need to be trained to use the devices correctly.
Under the amended Human Medicines Regulations 2012, schools will be able to occasionally buy inhalers and spacers on a non-profit basis from October 1 if the head teacher supplies a signed request.